June 19, 2015 – CT Autopsy


Anchor lead: Can CT scans replace traditional autopsy? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Does the thought of autopsy make you squeamish? You may have heard that there’s a technique employing CT scanning called ‘virtual autopsy’ that can allow information to be gathered without disrupting the body, but is it a substitute for the traditional technique?  No, says Jody Hooper, deputy director of autopsy at Johns Hopkins.

Hooper: I think that anything that brings forward postmortem information is a good thing, what we can learn from people after they die, and this is another avenue for that.  Ideally the two modalities would be used in tandem, bouncing off of each other, we think of our imaging studies are being perfect, we know that they’re not, I think using virtual autopsy in isolation would be a mistake.  There are going to be cases where the family doesn’t feel comfortable having a complete autopsy and I’d rather see us get some kind of postmortem information than not have any.   :31

Hooper says postmortem CT scanning is also surprisingly costly.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.