Application of compact ultrasound imaging device to postmortem diagnosis

Forensic Sci Int. 2004 Feb 10;140(1):33-41. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2003.11.029.


In regions with low autopsy rates, forensic examiners often have to rely on external findings. Imaging techniques can assist the external examination and provide a more objective diagnosis. The SonoSite 180, a portable ultrasound device, was used for the examination of dead bodies. The influence of different degrees of decomposition was estimated. Even in cases with intestinal gas formation images of internal organs could be obtained with special techniques. Various pathological findings were detected by ultrasound and verified by autopsy (e.g. pericardial tamponade, cardiac hypertrophy, fatty liver, aortic aneurysm, metastatic liver, etc.). The experiences with the SonoSite 180 are promising. The device can be carried to the death scene or to the morgue and therefore serve as a valuable tool for medicolegal applications.

MeSH terms

  • Aorta, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Autopsy / instrumentation*
  • Autopsy / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation*