Visualization of Myocardial Infarction in Postmortem Multiphase Computed Tomography Angiography: A Feasibility Study

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Recent studies have indicated that multiphase postmortem computed tomography angiography (MPMCTA) allows detection of a pathological enhancement of the myocardium in regions that correlate with the localization of the infarction at histology. The aim of this study was to verify this hypothesis by examining MPMCTA images in cases of myocardial infarction. Therefore, we investigated 10 autopsy cases where death was attributed to myocardial infarction or which showed cardiovascular pathology. As a control group, we selected 10 cases of non-natural (namely, not cardiac) death. The MPMCTA was performed in both groups to ascertain whether a pathological enhancement could be observed. We detected a myocardial enhancement in all cardiac death cases, in the same region that showed infarction at histology. No enhancement was observed in control cases. These results have important implications in the routine management of sudden cardiac death cases. In fact, MPMCTA can not only orient about the cause of death before autopsy, but can especially help to identify affected regions for guiding and improving the sampling for microscopic examination.

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