Scans could replace autopsies

Published on November 22nd, 2011
Scans could replace autopsies

Autopsies may make for real entertaining viewing on shows like CSI, but it’s quite invasive, because of the removal and dissecting of major organs, and can sometimes be traumatic for the family of the deceased.

Thanks to technology, determining the cause of death may now be a much easier procedure with the possible use of hi-tech medical scanners.

Keen to find whether a non-invasive alternative could be used, researchers tested frequency magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanners in 182 adult deaths where the corpse was afterwards given an autopsy.

The study showed that an autopsy was not needed in a third of cases that had been imaged by fMRI and in half of the cases imaged by CT.

While the scanning proved to be effective for the most parts, it failed to pick up or mis-attributed, more than two-dozen cases of heart disease as well as several dozen cases of embolism, pneumonia and intra-abdominal lesions.

The only other down fall is these diagnostic tools that get cross-sectional or 3-D images of internal organs, or simply put, scanners, are very expensive and require specialist training to operate them and interpret their results.

Its evident that technology is starting to play an even greater role in medicine, do you think we’ll ever get to the point where it will completely take over?