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Proceedings Paper

Evidential value of postmortem MRI in forensic pathology
Author(s): Wolf Schweitzer; Michael E. Schaepman; Michael Ith; Karin Bruegger; Michael J. Thali; Tanya Doernhofer; Kathrin Tiefenthaler; Eva Scheurer; Peter Vock; Chris Boesch; Richard Dirnhofer
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Paper Abstract

We currently evaluate MRI as add-on to dissection. Cases can only build on high evidential values of morphological findings as estimated using Bayesian likelihood-ratios. These values may vary among different cases depending on the quality of the morphology and the discrete hypotheses to be discerned. After scanning 20 bodies using MRI admitted to our institute for autopsy, we reconstructed selected imaging findings from a couple of illustrative cases according to a geometrical model ('Pink Box') designed as an object oriented bridging protocol to enable comparison of autopsy and MRI data. Although it appears obvious that 'three-dimensional imaging yields relevant diagnoses,' comparison of selected findings suggests, that the real evidential value of a postmortem scan depends on basic geometrical features of tissue structures examined. (1) Tissue surfaces are difficult to examine in MRI, including surface features of contact wounds in firearm injuries, lacerations of the pleura, or skin needle marks. (2) Specificity and sensitivity of solid tissue block data depend on contrast and resolution. (3) Tunnels or tubes, such as coronary arteries, linear wound tracks or the aorta offer more degrees of freedom for reconstruction, including spatial reconstruction or cross sectioning in different directions. (4) Three-dimensional rendering of complex objects results in spectacular images. Their evidential value is dependent on the way thresholding of 2D slices is validated. We present illustrative examples which suggest that a possible integration of non-invasive imaging methods into Forensic Pathology in fact need to take basic geometry into consideration when discussing evidential value.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 May 2001
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 4321, Medical Imaging 2001: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images, (21 May 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.428165
Show Author Affiliations
Wolf Schweitzer, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)
Michael E. Schaepman, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Michael Ith, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Karin Bruegger, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Michael J. Thali, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Tanya Doernhofer, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Kathrin Tiefenthaler, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Eva Scheurer, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Peter Vock, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Chris Boesch, Univ. of Zuerich (Switzerland)
Richard Dirnhofer, Univ. of Bern (Switzerland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4321:
Medical Imaging 2001: Physiology and Function from Multidimensional Images
Chin-Tu Chen; Anne V. Clough, Editor(s)

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