Purpose: We sought to compare postmortem chest computed tomography (CT) features of drowning cases with autopsy findings, and to classify these features. Materials and method: We performed a retrospective analysis of high-resolution and multi-planar reconstruction chest CT images of drowning in 92 adults (54 men, 38 women; mean age 65.4 years) scanned before forensic autopsy. The average lung CT number was calculated from whole-lung images reconstructed on a 3D workstation. The statistically significant differences of CT numbers were assessed with an alpha level of 0.05. Results: Postmortem chest CT image patterns were classified into six types: the two main types were ground-glass opacities with thickened pulmonary interstitium (n = 31), and a centrilobular distribution of ill-defined nodules along the airways (n = 38). Some cases were mixed type (n = 10). There were significant differences in CT numbers between each type. The remaining three types were consolidation (n = 5), emphysema and/or fibrosis (n = 4), and unclassifiable (n = 4). Conclusion: Postmortem CT images of drowning cases can be classified into three major types with a few exceptions.
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