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Whole Body Postmortem Angiography with a High Viscosity Contrast Agent Solution Using Poly Ethylene Glycol as Contrast Agent Dissolver

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Postmortem minimal invasive angiography has already been implemented to support virtual autopsy examinations. An experimental approach in a porcine model to overcome an initially described artificial tissue edema artifact by using a poly ethylene glycol (PEG) containing contrast agent solution showed promising results. The present publication describes the first application of PEG in a whole corpse angiographic CT examination. A minimal invasive postmortem CT angiography was performed in a human corpse utilizing the high viscosity contrast agent solution containing 65% of PEG. Injection was carried out via the femoral artery into the aortic root in simulated cardiac output conditions. Subsequent CT scanning delivered the 3D volume data of the whole corpse. Visualization of the human arterial anatomy was excellent and the contrast agent distribution was generally limited to the arterial system as intended. As exceptions an enhancement of the brain, the left ventricular myocardium and the renal cortex became obvious. This most likely represented the stage of centralization of the blood circulation at the time of death with dilatation of the precapillary arterioles within these tissues. Especially for the brain this resulted in a distinctively improved visualization of the intracerebral structures by CT. However, the general tissue edema artifact of postmortem minimal invasive angiography examinations could be distinctively reduced.
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Keywords: computed tomography; digital autopsy; forensic radiology; forensic science; imaging autopsy; minimally invasive autopsy; poly ethylene glycol; postmortem angiography; postmortem imaging; virtopsy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, CMIV, University of Linköping, 58185 Linköping, Sweden. 2: Center for Forensic Imaging and Virtopsy, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Bern, Bühlstr. 20, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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