Arterial Perfusion—A Useful Technique for Evaluating Incised Wounds

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A 54-year-old woman was found deceased with incised wounds of both sides of her neck and both wrists. Postmortem CT scanning revealed air in the heart and in the dural veins in continuity with air in the right jugular vein. Death was due to incised wounds of the wrist and neck with blood loss and air embolism. The manner of death was suicide. At autopsy, perfusion of the thoracic ascending aorta produced a fine stream of water emanating from an incised wound of the right ulnar artery with no significant leakage of water from the wound of the left wrist. There was also leakage from the facial artery branch of the right external carotid artery. Perfusion testing can be used as a screening test prior to formal dissection and also to identify small vessels that may not be obvious on standard examination of an exsanguinated field.

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