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    Drowning is a comprehensive and exclusive diagnosis at autopsy. Autopsy findings such as pleural effusion and waterlogged lungs contribute to the diagnosis. Herein, we aim to reveal the practical usefulness and postmortem changes of the maxillary sinus fluid volume to diagnose drowning. We evaluated 52 drowning and 59 nondrowning cases. The maxillary sinus fluid volume was measured using a computed tomography (CT) scan, and pleural effusion volume and lung weight were manually measured at autopsy. The utility of these three indices for diagnosing drowning and its postmortem changes was evaluated. The maxillary sinus fluid volume was significantly higher in drowning cases than in other external causes and cardiovascular death cases. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that a total maxillary sinus fluid volume >1.04 mL more usefully indicated drowning (odds ratio, 8.19) than a total pleural effusion volume >175 mL (odds ratio, 7.23) and a total lung weight >829 g (odds ratio, 2.29). The combination of maxillary sinus fluid volume and pleural effusion volume more effectively predicted drowning than one index alone. Moreover, the maxillary sinus fluid volume was less influenced by the postmortem interval than the other two indices up to a week after death. Maxillary sinus fluid volume can be more useful than pleural effusion volume and lung weight with higher sensitivity and odds ratio for diagnosing drowning. Fluid accumulation in both the maxillary sinuses strongly predicts drowning in the postmortem imaging. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


    Y Kakimoto, S Ohno, T Saito, S Isozaki, H Ikeda, Y Matsushima, A Ueda, A Tsuboi, M Osawa. Assessment of maxillary sinus fluid volume for postmortem diagnosis of drowning. Radiography (London, England : 1995). 2024 Jan;30(1):308-312

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    PMID: 38091921

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