[Publication] Anatomical Confirmation of the Joseon Mummy's Hearts Visible on Computed Tomography Images: The Radiological Basis of Paleo-Cardiology
Accurate interpretation of radiological data is important for reliable paleopathological study of mummies. This is especially true for the mummified heart, an anatomically complicated organ that is distorted and displaced due to long-term dehydration and the action of gravity. In the present study, we compared post-factum autopsy results for mummified hearts of differing preservation statuses with corresponding radiological (computed tomography [CT]-image) findings in order to obtain information necessary for accurate radiological diagnosis. We found that the valvular apparatus (especially the aortic valve and chordae tendinae) was easily distinguishable on the CT images of mummies in which more cardiac structures were preserved. We also identified several situations that are known to incur misdiagnosis of cardiac CT images: the presence of pseudo-cavities in the cardiac wall, confusion of the valvular apparatus with cardiac-wall debris, and invisibility of cardiac structures on CT images due to collapse or adhesion. While acknowledging the merits of top-priority CT scanning in non-invasive research, post-factum autopsy also has value as a complementary and confirmatory analysis for enhanced accuracy of diagnoses in paleo-radiological studies.