Three-Dimensional Printing Technology Combined With Postmortem Computed Tomography Angiography as New Form of Forensic Evidence: A Case Report

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Postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) and PMCT angiography are increasingly used in forensic practice. However, their application in court is still limited because they need professional equipment or software to be displayed. In this article, the authors introduce 3-dimensional (3D) printing technology as a new approach to provide evidence in court. A 67-year-old woman suffered from severe sick sinus syndrome, and she was fitted with a ventricular demand inhibited pacemaker. The operation failed as the doctor accidentally perforated her heart with an electrode wire. Her heart stopped beating, and she died after the operation. Targeted PMCT with pulmonary artery angiography was performed after the body was dissected, and a model of the heart was reconstructed using 3D printing technology, with different colored materials. The results confirmed by the autopsy suggested that the victim had died of cardiac rupture. The apex close to the right margin of the heart showed a tiny cleft where the contrast agent was flowing out. The heart model was an effective way to interpret this medical injury. This 3D printing technology, combined with PMCT angiography, provides a convenient, efficient tool for identifying the cause of death. It could become a powerful form of court evidence in the future.

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