This is a prospective investigation of a consecutive series of 250 deceased individuals who were computerized tomography (CT)-scanned and autopsied. In 13% of patients, important findings at the CT-scanning were not found at the autopsy, and in 48% of patients, important autopsy findings were not found at the CT-scanning. The cause of death could be established by CT in 31%, by autopsy in 74%, and by toxicology in 22%. CT combined with data from the inquest could establish the cause of death in a majority of deaths due to severe trauma, but only in a minority of deaths caused by disease or poisoning. We found the Siemens Somatom Spirit dual-slice CT-scanner cost effective, quick, and well suited as a supplement to the routine autopsy. CT is useful in identifications, gunshot lesions, and traffic accidents. CT allows investigation of anatomic regions that are not easily available by autopsy and allows fractures and inner organs to be seen "in situ." CT provides documentation in digital form - easily stored - permits review by others and provides pictures that may be more suitable for presentation in court than autopsy photos.
American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 2009, Vol 30, Issue 3, p. 219-222