Nevin Manimala Statistics

Post-mortem CT in the investigation of homicides

Clin Radiol. 2023 Nov;78(11):832-838. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2023.05.001. Epub 2023 Aug 14.


AIM: To investigate the reliability of post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) in a case series of homicides involving blunt-force, sharp-force, and ballistic trauma.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study investigates 16 homicide cases that underwent PMCT before autopsy. Two radiologists assessed the PMCT examinations and the data were compared to the forensic pathology findings. Data were organised in broad categories: foreign bodies, external injuries, soft-tissue and organ injuries, fractures, air in cavities, fluid collections, random pathology, and wound track. Findings were organised by systems: head and neck, thorax, abdomen and pelvis, extremities. Cohen’s kappa statistics were used to assess observer agreement.

RESULTS: Six gunshot-related homicides (37.5%), seven sharp-force-related homicides (43.75%), two blunt-force-related deaths (12.5%), and one homicide due to mechanical asphyxia (1.25%) were analysed. A total of 64 fractures were reported by the pathologists, 67 by radiologist 1 and 68 by radiologist 2. Agreement was deemed substantial in all cases. Pathologists failed to report gas in cavities while radiologists underreported superficial injuries.

CONCLUSION: An overall observation was that less accurate findings were produced by the blinded radiologist in comparison to the non-blinded one. The extremeness of homicides obscured the interpretation of PMCT leading to the observed discrepancies. The combination of PMCT and autopsies is deemed optimal when investigating homicidal events.

PMID:37827593 | DOI:10.1016/j.crad.2023.05.001

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