Is acute subdural hematoma reduced during the agonal stage and postmortem?

Research paper by Go G Inokuchi, Daisuke D Yajima, Mustumi M Hayakawa, Ayumi A Motomura, Fumiko F Chiba, Yohsuke Y Makino, Hirotaro H Iwase

Indexed on: 07 Jun '12Published on: 07 Jun '12Published in: International Journal of Legal Medicine


The issue of proper use of postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) in forensic fields is currently being actively discussed. The PMCT image has specific findings that differ from the antemortem image, and it is essential to understand and interpret postmortem changes in order to utilize PMCT properly. In this article, we present two cases of acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) in which images were obtained both ante- and postmortem. These images showed marked reduction of hematoma and diminishing midline shift between the agonal and postmortem periods, without evacuation of the hematoma. Attention should be paid to this phenomenon because key findings in determining cause of death could disappear if investigating the cause of death takes too long in cases that prove to be ASDH. In other words, this phenomenon potentially becomes a risk for misdiagnosis when we decide the cause of death without knowing the details of the circumstances of death.