Hypothermic death: Possibility of diagnosis by post-mortem computed tomography

Yusuke Kawasumi, Naoki Onozuka, Ayana Kakizaki, Akihito Usui, Yoshiyuki Hosokai, Miho Sato, Haruo Saito, Tadashi Ishibashi, Yoshie Hayashizaki, Masato Funayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Referring to our experience with post-mortem computed tomography (CT), many hypothermic death cases presented a lack of increase in lung-field concentration, blood clotting in the heart, thoracic aorta or pulmonary artery, and urine retention in the bladder. Thus we evaluated the diagnostic performance of post-mortem CT on hypothermic death based on the above-mentioned three findings. Twenty-four hypothermic death subjects and 53 non-hypothermic death subjects were examined. Two radiologists assessed the presence or lack of an increase in lung-field concentration, blood clotting in the heart, thoracic aorta or pulmonary artery, and measured urine volume in the bladder. Pearson's chi-square test and Mann-Whitney U-test were used to assess the relationship between the three findings and hypothermic death. The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of the diagnosis were also calculated. Lack of an increase in lung-field concentration and blood clotting in the heart, thoracic aorta or pulmonary artery were significantly associated with hypothermic death (p = 0.0007, p < 0.0001, respectively). The hypothermic death cases had significantly more urine in the bladder than the non-hypothermic death cases (p = 0.0011). Regarding the diagnostic performance with all three findings, the sensitivity was 29.2% but the specificity was 100%. These three findings were more common in hypothermic death cases. Although the sensitivity was low, these findings will assist forensic physicians in diagnosing hypothermic death since the specificity was high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-365
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb

Keywords

  • Autopsy
  • Forensic medicine
  • Hypothermia
  • Post-mortem changes
  • Spiral computed
  • Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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