La radiologia medica

, Volume 123, Issue 5, pp 351–358 | Cite as

Evolution of post-mortem coronary imaging: from selective coronary arteriography to post-mortem CT-angiography and beyond

  • Emidio De Marco
  • Giuseppe Vacchiano
  • Paola Frati
  • Raffaele La Russa
  • Alessandro Santurro
  • Matteo Scopetti
  • Giuseppe GuglielmiEmail author
  • Vittorio Fineschi


Since the 1970s, remarkable efforts have been made in the post-mortem coronary study, especially by angiography, as an added tool to diagnose heart-related deaths. In more recent times, post-mortem CT (PMCT) and post-mortem CT-angiography (PMCTA) have become an established practice in numerous forensic units, because of the undeniable advantages these diagnostic instruments can offer: data acquisition times are increasingly fast, costs have become lower and, once acquired, data can be re-utilized and re-evaluated at any given time. This review aims to chart the history of post-mortem cardiac imaging, highlighting its evolution both in terms of methodology and technology as well as the contribution that forensic radiology has been able to offer to forensic pathology, not as an alternative to autopsy but as a guide and aid when performing one. Finally, the latest advances in the study of cardiac deaths are explored, namely by cardiac post-mortem MRI (PMMR), able to visualize all the various stages of a myocardial infarction, post-mortem MRI-angiography (PMMRA), useful in investigating coronary artery pathology and post-mortem cardiac micro-CT, able to provide near-histological levels of myocardial, coronary and valvular detail.


Post-mortem angiography Post-mortem computed tomography Post-mortem computed tomography angiography Post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging Post-mortem magnetic resonance angiography Post-mortem micro computed tomography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Ethical approval

The present article obtained approval by Ethics Committee. All procedures involving human participants in this study have been carried out in accordance with The Code of Ethics of the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Medical Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emidio De Marco
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Vacchiano
    • 2
  • Paola Frati
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Raffaele La Russa
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alessandro Santurro
    • 1
  • Matteo Scopetti
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Guglielmi
    • 5
    Email author
  • Vittorio Fineschi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic and Orthopaedic SciencesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Law, Economics, Management and Quantitative MethodsUniversity of SannioBeneventoItaly
  3. 3.Malzoni Clinical-Scientific InstituteAvellinoItaly
  4. 4.IRCCS NeuromedPozzilliItaly
  5. 5.Department of RadiologyUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly

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