Saturday, December 7, 2019

Virtual autopsy will be a reality: An IMA success story

New Delhi: AIIMS Delhi and Indian Council of Medical Research have joined hands to work on a technique for post-mortem without dissecting the body and it is likely to be functional within the next six months, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha Tuesday. India will be the first country to start “virtual autopsy” in the South-East Asian region.
During my presidential tenure at the Indian Medical Association in 2017, we suggested and asked for virtual autopsy to be included in all post-mortems. We even suggested this to be included in the private sector to find out the unexplained cause of death, in routine cases and in all cases where the relatives are not satisfied with the treatment.
We thank Dr Harsh Vardhan for taking up this issue. Virtual autopsy includes post death whole body CT with or without post death MRI and post death genetics blood tests. I recall having discussed this with Dr Harsh Mahajan to have one CT machine dedicated for postmortems.
The virtual autopsy is cost and time effective as it takes less than 30 minutes to complete one autopsy as against two-and-half hour in normal post-mortem. The ICMR has provided INR 5 crore to AIIMS for this purpose and the process is in an advance stage for getting a CT machine.
Way back in 1979-83, we used to do mini post-mortems in every unexplained case of death in MGIMS Sewagram, that used to take less than five minutes. We used to do brain, heart, lungs, kidney, muscle, spleen and live needle biopsies in such cases.
Click the links below for more information.

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA

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