Minimally Invasive Autopsies with Angiography


Interesting snippet out of the UK. A research group of forensic pathologists and radiologists at Leicester University claims to have developed a minimally invasive autopsy method.
Professor Guy Rutty, Chief Forensic Pathologist to the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at University of Leicester, explains:“In collaboration with the radiology team, lead by Professor Bruno Morgan, we have successfully developed a quick and simple technique of ‘minimally invasive targeted coronary angiography’ where we inject contrast into the body of a deceased person through a small incision in the neck and then perform a full body CT scan. Using this method we are able to determine the cause of death in up to 80% of cases (in the series analysed to date).

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Full body CT as a proxy for autopsy is already used by the US Military in almost all combat deaths, the novel concept here is the addition of contrast enhanced imaging of the coronary vessels. With this addition, there is an increased chance of detecting cardiac causes of death. The 80% number mentioned in the quote above is likely going to be determined by the distribution of causes of death in the sample set.