ABSTRACT: We performed a trial investigation of transnasal endoscopy for post-mortem examinations to assess its efficacy in superficial post-mortem examinations. Transnasal endoscopy proved capable of permitting detailed visual inspections of the respiratory and the upper gastrointestinal tract, equal to direct viewing, on an LCD digital display. In 18 (40.9%) of 44 cases, findings obtained by post-mortem transnasal endoscopy (PMTNE) provided valuable clues regarding cause of death. The cases examined included seven deaths by fire, four by hypothermia, four by asphyxia (three involving death by mechanical asphyxia, the other by choking), two by drowning and one case of lung cancer. In two cases, PMTNE also led to informative findings not directly related to the cause of death. Under Japan's current systems, we are required to diagnose the cause of death for over 80% of all the unnatural death cases based solely on superficial post-mortem examinations, in the absence of an autopsy. Introducing PMTNE to superficial post-mortem examinations will undoubtedly provide much more information on the cause of death than relying solely on superficial post-mortem examinations.
Forensic science international 03/2012; 220(1-3):184-90. · 2.10 Impact Factor