An evaluation of the objectivity and reproducibility of shear wave elastography in estimating the post-mortem interval: a tissue biomechanical perspective

Gabriele Ciasca, Marco De Spirito, Cesare Colosimo, Vincenzo Lorenzo Pascali, Ronel D'Amico, Pietro Trombatore, Pierluigi Rinaldi, F. De-Giorgio, A. D'Angelo, F. Milano, E. Locci, E. d'Aloja

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

1 Citazioni (Scopus)

Abstract

Cadaveric rigidity—also referred to as rigor mortis—is a valuable source of information for estimating the time of death, which is a fundamental and challenging task in forensic sciences. Despite its relevance, assessing the level of cadaveric rigidity still relies on qualitative and often subjective observations, and the development of a more quantitative approach is highly demanded. In this context, ultrasound shear wave elastography (US SWE) appears to be a particularly well-suited technique for grading cadaveric rigidity, as it allows non-invasive quantification of muscle stiffness in terms of Young’s modulus (E), which is a widely used parameter in tissue biomechanics. In this pilot study, we measured, for the first time in the literature, changes in the mechanical response of muscular tissues from 0 to 60 h post-mortem (hpm) using SWE, with the aim of investigating its applicability to forensic practice. For this purpose, 26 corpses were included in the study, and the muscle mechanical response was measured at random times in the 0–60 hpm range. Despite the preliminary nature of this study, our data indicate a promising role of SWE in the quantitative determination of cadaveric rigidity, which is still currently based on qualitative and semiquantitative methods. A more in-depth study is required to confirm SWE applicability in this field in order to overcome some of the inherent limitations of the present work, such as the rather low number of cases and the non-systematic approach of the measurements.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1939-1948
Numero di pagine10
RivistaInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Volume134
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Forensic science
  • Post-mortem interval
  • Ultrasound
  • Shear wave elastography
  • Time since death
  • Rigor mortis

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