Forensic pathology expert speaking at international conference
Professor Guy Rutty from our Forensic Pathology Unit is off to Turkey next month for the 22nd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine. Founded in 1938, the IALM’s aim is “the furthering of scientific progress in the field of Legal Medicine, especially by promoting collaboration and information exchange among specialists on an international level.”
One of the Unit’s specialist areas is the use of computed tomography (CT) in forensic pathology. This is the same medical technology previously known as a CAT scan (computed axial tomography) in which an x-ray beam rotates around the body while moving along, thereby building up a ‘slice by slice’ interior image.
Professor Rutty will bring his internationally regarded expertise to bear in four talks at the conference, two of them in a session on Forensic Imaging which he is chairing: The role of air as a contrast medium for post-mortem CT angiography and Can targeted angiography assisted post-mortem CT replace the need for an invasive autopsy examination?
These two papers will present new information arising from the on-going NIHR-funded post-mortem targeted angiography research project being undertaken in the EMFPU. Leicester is the lead research unit in the UK in this area, with our current research considering the role of both targeted and whole body angiography in ways which will steer future autopsy practice across the country.
Post-mortem angiography traditionally uses either water or lipids as a contrast medium, but in the first of these two talks Professor Rutty will draw on experience of more than 200 post-mortem computed tomography angiography (PMCT-A) scans to show that air can also be an effective contrast medium which offers significant advantages in certain situations. The paper has been co-authored with Jade Barber and Jasmin Amorosa from the EMFPU and colleagues from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
Those 200 case studies also provide data for the second paper, co-authored with Sarah Saunders, Theresa Visser and Jasmin Amorosa, plus UHL and Home Office colleagues. This summarises Leicester research into whether targeted PMCT cardiac angiography “can provide sufficient cardiac information to assist in deriving a cause of death for natural and un-natural, non suspicious or homicide deaths without the necessity to undertake an invasive autopsy.” Invasive autopsies obviously present a whole range of practical, legal and cultural problems so any technique which can provide the same information non-invasively offers tremendous potential.
Professor Rutty has also been invited to speak on 'Application of CT scanning for medico-legal identification purposes' (an area in which he is recognised internationally as a leading practitioner and researcher) and to give a keynote talk on the targeted PMCT-A system which is being developed here at Leicester.
The IALM 2012 conference runs 5-8 July in Istanbul.