Mohammad F. ALQahtani Mohammad S. Asiri Saleh K. Alzahrani Ziyad A. Alshagawi Raiyan Alshubaiki


The present review will discuss gaps in the current state of knowledge about virtopsy in the Middle East and its practical application during the covid-19 Pandemic. Published literature in different journals with strict inclusion and exclusion criteria was extensively reviewed using PubMed search engine to elucidate applications and implications of the virtual autopsy.

The present review is based upon literature survey covering a period of 17 months (June 2019 – October 2021) using the key words “Forensic Science, Virtopsy, Middle East, Radiology, Post-Mortem, Covid-19, Covid-19 pandemic”. Studies using virtopsy in the Middle East are minimal and confined to four countries: Israel (56%) followed by Turkey (27%), Iran (9%) and UAE (5%). In terms of radiological modalities applied in virtopsy in the Middle East, computerized tomography (CT) was used the most (52%), followed by X-ray (38%), ultrasound (5%) and MRI (5%). The application of virtopsy in the postmortem investigations during the current Covid-19 pandemic was documented in four reports originating from a total of 32 corona-associated deaths. Of these 32 deceased, virtopsy alone was used in 19 deceased, while 13 deceased cases were examined by traditional autopsy combined with virtopsy. The mean age of the deceased was 68 (33-94) years. There were 69% males and 31% females. In combination with traditional autopsy, virtopsy can be very effective in identifying the cause, mode, and the state of health a person was in before he died. However, virtopsy alone is shown to be less sensitive than traditional autopsy and, therefore, requires further research to replace traditional autopsy. It is hoped that the present paper will elucidate further the practical significance of virtopsy in the Middle East.


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