Normal postmortem changes in the central nervous system

Last revised by Dr Hamish Smith on 20 Oct 2018

Normal central nervous system postmortem changes refers to the expected changes seen in the central nervous system with postmortem imaging.

Radiographic features

CT
  • loss of grey-white matter differentiation 1,2
  • intracranial and intravascular gas (due to putrefaction) 1,2
  • hyperdensity of the dural venous sinuses in a dependent position 3
  • loss of definition of sulci 1 
  • "softening" of brain tissue and settling of the tissue against the dependent part of the skull 1
  • eventually the brain becomes isodense to water 1

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