Objectives: Infant cases frequently show a diffuse increase in the concentration of lung fields on post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT). However, the lungs often show simply atelectasis at autopsy in the absence of any other abnormal changes. Thus, we retrospectively reviewed the PMCT findings of lungs following sudden infant death and correlated them with the autopsy results. Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed infant cases (0 year) who had undergone PMCT and a forensic autopsy at our institution between May 2009 and June 2013. Lung opacities were classified according to their type; consolidation, ground-glass opacity and mixed, as well as distribution; bilateral diffuse and areas of sparing. Statistical analysis was performed to assess the relationships among lung opacities, causes of death and resuscitation attempt. Results: Thirty infant cases were selected, which included 22 sudden and unexplained deaths and 8 other causes of death. Resuscitation was attempted in 22 of 30 cases. Bilateral diffuse opacities were observed in 21 of the 30 cases. Of the 21 cases, 18 were sudden and unexplained deaths. Areas of sparing were observed in 4 sudden and unexplained deaths and 5 other causes of death. Distribution of opacities was not significantly associated with causes of death or resuscitation attempt. The 21 cases with bilateral diffuse opacities included 6 consolidations (4 sudden and unexplained deaths, 2 other causes of death), 4 ground-glass opacities (3 sudden and unexplained deaths and 1 other) and 11 mixed (11 sudden and unexplained deaths). Types of opacities were not significantly associated with causes of death or resuscitation attempt. Conclusion: Atelectasis is very common in sudden and unexplained death of infants. Bilateral diffuse mixed opacity was observed only in sudden and unexplained deaths. Bilateral diffuse pure consolidation or ground-glass opacity was also observed in other causes of death.
- Forensic medicine
- Post-mortem computed tomography
- Sudden infant death