Noninvasive Estimation of Organ Weights by Postmortem Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Multislice Computed Tomography

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Objective:Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are introduced as an alternative to traditional autopsy. The purpose of this study was to investigate their accuracy in mass estimation of liver and spleen.Methods:In 44 cases, the weights of spleen and liver were estimated based on MRI and CT data using a volume-analysis software and a postmortem tissue-specific density factor. In a blinded approach, the results were compared with the weights noted at autopsy.Results:Excellent correlation between estimated and real weights (r = 0.997 for MRI, r = 0.997 for CT) was found. Putrefaction gas and venous air embolism led to an overestimation. Venous congestion and drowning caused higher estimated weights.Conclusion:Postmortem weights of liver and spleen can accurately be assessed by nondestructive imaging. Multislice CT overcomes the limitation of putrefaction and venous air embolism by the possibility to exclude gas. Congestion seems to be even better assessed.

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