Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background: The dilatation of the right atrium and the great vein is one of classical Sign of asphyxial death. The diagnosis of dilatation of the right atrium from the autopsy is difficult due to the unclear criteria and unavailability of measuring the organ size while it is still in the body. Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) is useful for the study on the dilatation of the right atrium before autopsy. Objective: This study aimed to compare the size of right atrium measuring with PMCT between the asphyxial and non-asphyxial death. Methods: The samples of this observational analytic research were a total of 20 bodies, 10 were asphyxial death and 10 were non-asphyxial death. The samples had been examined through PMCT process to measure the diameter of right atrium prior to the autopsy at the Central Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice. Statistics that were applied for data analysis included mean, standard deviation, and unpaired t - test. Results: The comparison of the size of right atrium revealed that the mean of the right atrium diameter was 4.98 ± 1.13 and 4.85 ± 0.91, respectively. When testing with the statistic method, there was no significant difference between two groups. Conclusion: No statistically significant differences in the size of the right atrium was found between asphyxial and non-asphyxial death groups, so the size of right atrium cannot be used as part of the diagnosis of asphyxial death.



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