Determination of age represents one of the most important aspects in forensic identification. Through aging, changes can occur in morphological structures of the heart valves. The objective is to examine the relationship between the dimensions of the rigth atrioventricular (tricuspid), pulmonary, left atrioventricular (mitral), and aortic valves and age at death. Sixty fresh human hearts were obtained from Department of Anatomy and Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. The age of individuals was between 20-90 years. We investigated the morphometric parameters of the valves were taken including: valve circumference, length, the height and area of each leaflet. All parameters were measured by using specific image analysis software. The correlation test and predictive equation were established. The positive correlation between the circumference, area of posterior leaflet, height of anterior leaflet, and area of anterior leaflet of the rigth atrioventricular valve were found. The left atrioventricular valve showed correlation with age in circumference, length and area of posterior leaflet. For the pulmonary and aortic valves, there were correlated between circumference at sinotubular junction and leaflet sizes in almost leaflets. The circumference at sinotubular junction of the pulmonary valve was highest significantly correlation with age (r=0.693). The predictive equation was age = -3.659+0.652(Circumference at sinotubular junction of the pulmonary valve) with standard error of ± 14.7 years. Additional knowledge of morphometric features in human heart valves and its relationship with age could be used as age indicator in forensic field.
KEY WORDS: Age; Heart valve; Image analysis; Morphometry.