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Can Forensic Pathologists Diagnose Pulmonary Thromboembolism on Postmortem Computed Tomography Pulmonary Angiography?

Burke, Michael P. MBBS, BSc, FRCPA, Dip Forens Path; Bedford, Paul MBBS, FRCPA, Dip For Med; Baber, Yeliena MBBS, MRCSEd, FRCPath, FRCPA

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 2 - p 124–131
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000086
Original Articles

Postmortem computed tomography (CT) scanning is a routine examination in the medicolegal death investigation of every deceased person admitted to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. Pulmonary CT angiography is a standard clinical investigation for suspected pulmonary thromboembolism. To the best of our knowledge, a study of postmortem CT pulmonary angiography has not been previously reported in the English-speaking forensic literature. We present our findings on 13 cases of suspected massive pulmonary thromboembolism where forensic pathologists assessed postmortem CT pulmonary angiography, which were then correlated with conventional postmortem examinations.

From the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Victoria; and Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Manuscript received April 3, 2013; accepted October 5, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Michael Burke, MBBS, BSc, FRCPA, Dip Forens Path, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 57-83 Kavanagh St, Southbank, Victoria, Australia 3006. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.