Postmortem MRI (PMMR) examinations are seldom performed in legal medicine due to long examination times, unfamiliarity with the technique, and high costs. Furthermore, it is difficult to obtain access to an MRI device used for patients in clinical settings to image an entire human body. An alternative is available: ex situ organ examination. To our knowledge, there is no standardized protocol that includes ex situ organ preparation and scanning parameters for postmortem MRI. Thus, our objective was to develop a standard procedure for ex situ heart PMMR examinations. We also tested the oily contrast agent Angiofil® commonly used for PMCT angiography, for its applicability in MRI. We worked with a 3 Tesla MRI device and 32-channel head coils. Twelve porcine hearts were used to test different materials to find the best way to prepare and place organs in the device and to test scanning parameters. For coronary MR angiography, we tested different mixtures of Angiofil® and different injection materials. In a second step, 17 human hearts were examined to test the procedure and its applicability to human organs. We established two standardized protocols: one for preparation of the heart and another for scanning parameters based on experience in clinical practice. The established protocols enabled a standardized technical procedure with comparable radiological images, allowing for easy radiological reading. The performance of coronary MR angiography enabled detailed coronary assessment and revealed the utility of Angiofil® as a contrast agent for PMMR. Our simple, reproducible method for performing heart examinations ex situ yields high quality images and visualization of the coronary arteries.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
In Vitro Techniques
Magnetic Resonance Angiography/methods
Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods*
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