Brain Swelling and Loss of Gray and White Matter Differentiation in Human Postmortem Cases by Computed Tomography


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the brain by postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) versus antemortem computed tomography (AMCT) using brains from the same patients. We studied 36 nontraumatic subjects who underwent AMCT, PMCT, and pathological autopsy in our hospital between April 2009 and December 2013. PMCT was performed within 20 h after death, followed by pathological autopsy including the brain. Autopsy confirmed the absence of intracranial disorders that might be related to the cause of death or might affect measurements in our study. Width of the third ventricle, width of the central sulcus, and attenuation in gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) from the same area of the basal ganglia, centrum semiovale, and high convexity were statistically compared between AMCT and PMCT. Both the width of the third ventricle and the central sulcus were significantly shorter in PMCT than in AMCT (P < 0.0001). GM attenuation increased after death at the level of the centrum semiovale and high convexity, but the differences were not statistically significant considering the differences in attenuation among the different computed tomography scanners. WM attenuation significantly increased after death at all levels (P<0.0001). The differences were larger than the differences in scanners. GM/WM ratio of attenuation was significantly lower by PMCT than by AMCT at all levels (P<0.0001). PMCT showed an increase in WM attenuation, loss of GM-WM differentiation, and brain swelling, evidenced by a decrease in the size of ventricles and sulci.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143848

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@inproceedings{Shirota2015BrainSA, title={Brain Swelling and Loss of Gray and White Matter Differentiation in Human Postmortem Cases by Computed Tomography}, author={Go Shirota and Wataru Gonoi and Masanori Ishida and Hidemi Okuma and Yukako Shintani and Hiroyuki Abe and Yutaka Takazawa and Masako Ikemura and Masashi Fukayama and Kuni Ohtomo and Jean-Claude Baron}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2015} }