International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 249–262 | Cite as

The role of angiography in the congruence of cardiovascular measurements between autopsy and postmortem imaging

  • Renaud Troxler
  • Costin Minoiu
  • Paul Vaucher
  • Katarzyna Michaud
  • Francesco Doenz
  • Kewin Ducrot
  • Silke Grabherr
Original Article



Postmortem CT angiography is the method of choice for the postmortem imaging investigations of the cardiovascular (CV) system. However, autopsy still remains the gold standard for CV measurement. Nevertheless, there are not any studies on CV measurements on the multi-phase postmortem angiography (MPMCTA) which includes comparisons with autopsy. Therefore, the aim of this study is to compare CV measurements between the native CT scan and the three phases of the MPMCTA to find out which of these modalities correlate the best with autopsy measurements.


For this study, we selected retrospectively 50 postmortem cases that underwent both MPMCTA and autopsy. A comparison was carried out between the CV measurements obtained with imaging (aorta; heart cavities and cardiac wall thicknesses; maximum cardiac diameter and cardiothoracic ratio) and at the autopsy (aorta; cardiac valves, ventricular thicknesses, and weight).


Our results show that the dynamic phase displays an advantage for the measurement of the aortas. However, the MPMCTA is not accurate to measure the cardiac wall thicknesses. The measurements of the heart cavities show no correlation with the heart valves. The cardiothoracic ratio measured by the MPMCTA shows no correlation with the heart weight. Nevertheless, the maximum cardiac diameter exhibits a correlation with the latter on the venous and dynamic phase.


These results show that only few CV parameters measured with imaging correlate with measurement obtained at the autopsy. These results indicate that in order to better estimate values obtained at the autopsy, we need to define new reference values for the CV measurement on MPMCTA.


Forensic imaging MPMCTA Cardiovascular measurement Autopsy 


Compliance with ethical standards

The following study was approved by the Cantonal Ethics Committees on research involving humans (CER-VD; No. 130/15).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

414_2017_1652_MOESM1_ESM.txt (138 kb)
ESM 1 (TXT 138 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renaud Troxler
    • 1
  • Costin Minoiu
    • 2
  • Paul Vaucher
    • 1
    • 3
  • Katarzyna Michaud
    • 1
  • Francesco Doenz
    • 4
  • Kewin Ducrot
    • 1
  • Silke Grabherr
    • 1
  1. 1.University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne-GenevaLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”BucharestRomania
  3. 3.School of Health Sciences FribourgUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO)FribourgSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyUniversity Hospital of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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