Postmortem micro-ct of human fetal heart. A systematic literature review

Camilla Sandrini, Simona Boito, Claudio M. Lombardi, Sophie Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Micro-computed tomography (CT) is a non-invasive alternative to conventional macroscopic dissection for the evaluation of human fetal cardiac anatomy. This paper aims to systematically review the literature regarding the use of micro-CT to examine human fetal hearts, to illustrate its educational and research implications and to explain its possible directions for the future. A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA statement to identify publications concerning micro-CT applications for the isolated human fetal heart. The search strategy identified nine eligible studies. Micro-CT is technically feasible for postmortem examination of the human fetal heart coming from early and late termination of pregnancy. It reaches high diagnostic accuracy, and it seems to perform better than autopsy in small samples or in the case of early termination of pregnancy. Applications derived from micro-CT allow multiple off-time evaluations and interdisciplinary comparisons for educational purposes and research perspectives in biological and bioengineering domains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4726
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Fetal heart
  • Postmortem micro-CT
  • Virtual autopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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