Virtual autopsies accurate when compared to conventional autopsies: JSS Medical College Professor Dr. Chandrakanth
Mysuru: A session on ‘evolving into an era of post-mortem examination through visualisation’ was organised for trainee Dy.SPs at the Karnataka Police Academy (KPA) in city recently where Dr. H.V. Chandrakanth, Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JSS Medical College, delivered a talk on digital autopsy.
In his presentation, Dr. Chandrakanth said that virtual autopsy which is done with the help of high-tech digital X-rays and CT scans is less time-consuming when compared to the traditional post-mortem and is non-invasive, allowing the body to be released for cremation or burial soon while the authentic data can be documented and transmitted.
Virtual autopsies is being performed at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, for the last two years and the advanced procedure has come as a boon to forensic experts and is a relief to the family of the deceased. When any family is in grief or mourning, the invasive process is hardly recommended, he said.
The procedure involves zero to minimal cuts in the body of the deceased person, the Professor told the Policemen. AIIMS Delhi is the only institute in Southeast Asia which has been doing virtual autopsies for the last two years, he added.
A digital autopsy has many advantages when compared to conventional autopsies. “The radiological examination can detect fractures and blood clots invisible to the naked eye. With the help of virtual autopsy, even smaller fractures like hairline or chip fractures in bones along with bleeding which are signs of antemortem injuries can be detected and they can be documented,” Dr. Chandrakanth told the Cops.
A virtual autopsy can provide additional diagnostic information. The technology is in use for some time in forensics, CT and MRI are now being used as an alternative means of performing cause-of-death determination, he explained.
“Digital autopsy is a humane solution and enhances dignity in death. While conventional autopsies are invasive, cause permanent damage and are against religious beliefs, the digital autopsy is transforming a 500-year-old practice providing new tools to pathologists to improve the examination process. While conventional autopsy is a lengthy procedure that can last more than three hours with 65 percent accuracy, the virtual autopsy takes only about 30 minutes with 90 percent accuracy,” Dr. Chandrakanth explained.
While the shortage of manpower due to low interest among graduates to enter the autopsy field is a problem in conventional autopsies, the digital autopsies can be performed as long as the CT and MRI scanners are available.
“There is ease of use, speed of use and acceptability and the service can be exported across the world, establishing it as a centre of excellence in forensic medicine-related services,” he said.
Also, local and international graduate training can be provided in high technology and they can be absorbed into structured apprenticeship programmes that will reskill and upskill graduates and create an experienced workforce.