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Postmortem Computed Tomography Potpourri of Unnatural Deaths

Event Dates
Event Duration
1 hour

In the sixth and final webinar, participants will be introduced to the use of PMCT in the investigation of a variety of unnatural deaths not discussed in previous webinars.  Topics include overdose deaths, select asphyxial mechanisms of death, and sharp force injury.   

Common PMCT findings in overdose deaths include cerebral edema, pulmonary edema, and urinary bladder distension. Less commonly, pills or drug packets may be identified by PMCT.  At the New Mexico OMI, PMCT in conjunction with a point-of-care urine drug screen (UDS) is used to determine which suspected overdose deaths require a full autopsy. Full autopsy examination may be deemed less necessary in cases with a positive UDS and PMCT negative for other causes of death, provided that other investigative criteria (e.g. scene findings, age, medical history) are satisfied. 

The PMCT appearance of select asphyxial injuries, including choking, drowning, strangulation, and hanging, will be reviewed.  Positive findings include foreign bodies in the airways in suspected choking cases, fluid collections in the lung fields or sinus cavities in cases of suspected drowning, or neck injuries such as a fractured hyoid or thyroid cartilage in cases of suspected strangulation.  PMCT may also be used to rule out other pathologies or trauma in non-suspicious, suicidal hanging deaths. 

Finally, participants will be introduced to examples of the PMCT appearance of sharp force injuries, including soft tissue injury, underlying injuries to bone or cartilage, and in some cases, retained foreign bodies, such as knives or knife tips.

View other webinars in this series.

Date Created: November 19, 2020