Postmortem computed tomographic features in the diagnosis of drowning: a comparison of fresh water and salt water drowning cases
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To investigate the effectiveness of postmortem computed tomography in the diagnosis of drowning, focusing on the comparison of fresh water and salt water cases using three-dimensionally (3D) reconstructed data.
Materials and methods
We examined features of drowning in 25 fresh water drowning cases (FWDCs; 13 men, 12 women; mean age 73.1 years; range 43–95 years), and compared these with 12 salt water drowning cases (SWDCs; 5 men, 7 women; mean age 66.0 years; range 55–77 years). Pulmonary opacities, volume and density (CT number) of accumulated fluid in the paranasal sinuses and central airways, volume of the stomach/stomach contents, and cardiac blood density were examined.
In SWDCs, pulmonary ground-glass opacities with wholly thickened interstitium was frequently identified (P = 0.0274). Whereas in FWDCs, a significantly larger volume and lower density of fluid in the paranasal sinuses (P = 0.0195 and P = 0.0104, respectively), lower density of fluid in the central airways (P = 0.0077), lower stomach content density (P = 0.0216), lower density in the left atrium (P = 0.0029), and a difference of density between the atria (P = 0.0247) were observed.
A lower density in the left atrium was observed in FWDCs compared to SWDCs. This finding may be helpful in differentiating between FWDCs and SWDCs.
KeywordsPostmortem CT Drowning Ground-glass opacity CT number Hemodilution
The authors would like to thank Mr. Naoto Taniguchi (radiological technologist) for his advice and assistance with the reconstruction of PMCT images of the lungs.
This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
The present study was approved by the appropriate institutional review board, who waived the requirement for informed consent due to the nature of the study.
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