Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of conventional radiology on the assessment of causes of death of human beings after a building collapse and to establish whether the radiographic approach is useful and justifiable. Materials and methods: Eight victims of a building collapse were subjected to autopsy, toxicology and radiographic examinations of the entire body. The autopsy findings, classified into three groups according to the New Injury Severity Score (NISS), were compared with radiographic findings. Results: The death of the three individuals in group 1 was ascribed to mechanical asphyxia. Costal fractures, pneumothorax and subcutaneous emphysema were detected in one case only. The three individuals in group 2 died of mechanical asphyxia associated with cerebral injuries in all cases, abdominal injuries in two and cardiac injuries in one. Plain films showed skull fracture in one case, air within the cardiac chambers in another and diaphragmatic injuries in the third. The two individuals in group 3 died of injuries not compatible with life at the cardiac and abdominal level in both cases and at the cerebral level in one. Radiography showed multiple fractures of the cranium associated with diaphragmatic injuries in one case only. No significant pleuropulmonary radiographic findings were detected in any of the eight victims. Paralytic ileus, identified in all patients, is not strictly correlated to abdominal injuries. Skeletal injuries were all confirmed at conventional radiography. Conclusions: Conventional radiography allows for the overall assessment of skeletal injuries. Radiographic findings provide limited information about the causes of death, whereas findings related to the concomitant causes of death are more frequent. Conventional radiography should be considered inadequate, especially if the potential of the modern software tools available on current computed tomography and magnetic resonance images is considered.
|Translated title of the contribution||Lethal injuries following building collapse: Comparison between autopsy and radiographic findings|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging