Radiography in post-mortem examinations of fetuses and neonates. Findings on plain films and at arteriography

APMIS. 1989 Mar;97(3):274-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1699-0463.1989.tb00788.x.


During the last decade there has been an increasing interest in radiological investigation of stillborns and neonates as a supplement to autopsy. A consecutive series of 137 fetuses and neonates is presented. Prior to autopsy plain X-ray films were taken, and in 50% arteriography was performed by injecting contrast medium into an umbilical or femoral artery. On the plain films only 41% were normal. The major part of the abnormal radiographs exhibited minor abnormalities such as transverse lines or "stress-lines" of the bones, cercival ribs or an abnormal numbers of ribs. Major abnormalities were seen in 9%. Most of these were abnormalities of the spine. The arteriographs were very detailed and were abnormal in 29% of the cases. The technique was not suitable for demonstration of heart malformations. It is concluded that plain film X-ray of soft tissues and bones is recommendable as a routine procedure, whereas arteriography should be limited to cases suspected of vascular malformations or if an autopsy cannot be performed.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Autopsy
  • Blood Vessels / abnormalities
  • Bone and Bones / abnormalities
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Fetus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy