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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 21;12(8):e0183408. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183408. eCollection 2017.

Post-mortem computed tomography angiography using left ventricle cardiac puncture: A whole-body, angiographic approach.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Forensic Medicine, Shanghai Forensic Service Platform, Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice, P.R. China, Shanghai, China.


Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) and PMCT angiography (PMCTA) are rapidly becoming effective and practical methods in forensic medicine. In this article, the authors introduce a whole-body PMCTA approach involving left ventricle cardiac puncture. This procedure was performed in 9 males and 3 females. PMCT was performed first. Then a biopsy core needle was used for a percutaneous puncture into the left ventricle through the intercostal area under CT guidance. 1000 mL of contrast media (diatrizoate meglumine and normal saline [0.9%] at 1:2 ratio) was injected at a rate of 50 mL/8 s, followed by CT scan. Visualization of systemic arteries was achieved in 11 cases, while only partial visualization was achieved in 1 case, which may have been related to incomplete thawing of the cadaver. PMCTA results revealed no vascular diseases and abnormalities in 10 victims. Among the 10 victims, 4 post-scan autopsies were performed and found no vascular abnormalities, consistent with the PMCTA results. Autopsy of the other 6 victims were refused by the relatives. PMCTA revealed signs of internal carotid artery aneurysm inside the sphenoid sinus in one victim, which was confirmed by autopsy. PMCTA results of another victim showed signs of stenosis and blockage of the distal part of the right vertebral artery and basilar artery. Thromboembolism of those arteries was found during autopsy. Compared with other existing PMCTA methods for examination of vascular injuries and diseases, this technique involves simple procedures, is less time consuming, has lower associated costs, does not require specialized equipment, provides adequate imaging quality, and is suitable for centres not equipped with cardiopulmonary bypass machines or other specialized equipment.

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