CT as a forensic tool in laryngotracheal trauma
Laryngotracheal injuries are rare events but usually life threatening. According to the injury mechanism, they can be classified as either blunt or penetrating injury. The most common causes include motor vehicle accidents, sport accidents, strangulation. Clinically, there are several methods to assess laryngotracheal trauma which include the physical examination, imaging techniques (CT, MRI), laryngoscopy, as well as surgical exploration. Forensically, the assessment of survived cases is usually based on the external findings and several subjective matters such as reports of the involved persons and witness. In postmortem examination, the assessment includes external examination and autopsy of internal structures. However, autopsy examination is not possible in some cases because of severe decomposition, or in some communities due to ethical or religious reasons. Recently, the CT and MRI imaging techniques have been introduced as assessment methods of forensic survived cases and in postmortem examination. In survived cases, the CT helps the forensic expertise to evaluate internal injuries for the interpretation of the life-threatening quality of the trauma. In postmortem examination, CT may help to determine the cause of the death.
This study aims to study the patterns of different causes of laryngotracheal trauma and to evaluate the use of CT in survived and non-survived cases of laryngotracheal trauma.
Forensic pathologists should be aware of the mechanism of the different causes of laryngeal injuries. Their knowledge of laryngeal trauma could help in determining the cause of the death and whether or not the injury is a life-threatening in survivors. Forensic pathologists could use CT, MRI, X-ray imaging, external examination, and autopsy to establish the cause of the injury or death. In some forensic cases, it is not possible to investigate the internal structures in neck injuries through autopsy. Some reasons for this include the condition of the body (e.g. badly decomposed), in some countries the autopsy is not widely used due to ethical and religion issues, and some families refuse the autopsy for their loved one. Therefore, the best alternative methods may be the use of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).