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Radiol Med. 2015 Sep;120(9):824-34. doi: 10.1007/s11547-015-0532-2. Epub 2015 Apr 5.

Application of contrast media in post-mortem imaging (CT and MRI).

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University Center of Legal Medicine Lausanne-Geneva, University Hospital of Lausanne, Chemin de la Vulliette 4, 1000, Lausanne 25, Switzerland,


The application of contrast media in post-mortem radiology differs from clinical approaches in living patients. Post-mortem changes in the vascular system and the absence of blood flow lead to specific problems that have to be considered for the performance of post-mortem angiography. In addition, interpreting the images is challenging due to technique-related and post-mortem artefacts that have to be known and that are specific for each applied technique. Although the idea of injecting contrast media is old, classic methods are not simply transferable to modern radiological techniques in forensic medicine, as they are mostly dedicated to single-organ studies or applicable only shortly after death. With the introduction of modern imaging techniques, such as post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) and post-mortem magnetic resonance (PMMR), to forensic death investigations, intensive research started to explore their advantages and limitations compared to conventional autopsy. PMCT has already become a routine investigation in several centres, and different techniques have been developed to better visualise the vascular system and organ parenchyma in PMCT. In contrast, the use of PMMR is still limited due to practical issues, and research is now starting in the field of PMMR angiography. This article gives an overview of the problems in post-mortem contrast media application, the various classic and modern techniques, and the issues to consider by using different media.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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