Histological examination in sudden unexpected death in infancy: evidence base for histological sampling
ABSTRACT Pathologists currently follow the 'Kennedy guidelines' when performing autopsies for sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI); these include extensive histological sampling. This study establishes the frequency with which histological examination of visceral organs determines cause of death and examines associations between clinical, macroscopic and microscopic findings.
Retrospective review of 546 SUDI autopsies performed for a 10-year period (1996-2005) at a single centre. The proportion of cases in which non-neuropathological histological examination directly determined the cause of death was identified, and clinical, macroscopic and histological findings at autopsy were compared.
Of 510 SUDIs included, 166 cases were explained SUDI, and of these, 54% (89/166) were identified solely on microscopic examination, based on histology of the lungs in 71 (43%), heart in 13 (8%), liver in 4 (2%) and kidneys in 1 (<1%). The proportions of macroscopically normal organs with significant histological findings were 26% lungs, 2% heart and 1% each of liver and kidneys, but none of spleen, thymus, pancreas or adrenals. Macroscopically abnormal organs were more likely to yield significant histological features. Symptoms preceding death were more common in cases with significant histological findings in lungs, heart, liver and adrenals.
A non-neuropathological cause of death in explained SUDI can be established from histological examination of lungs, heart, liver and kidneys. Significant histological abnormalities may be detected in selected organs with macroscopically normal appearances. Routine histological sampling of other organs in the absence of specific clinical history or macroscopic abnormalities has a low yield for establishing cause of death.
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ABSTRACT: Sudden death in the young is a tragic complication of a number of medical diseases. There is limited data regarding the utility of post-mortem Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging and Computer Tomography (CT) scanning in determining the cause of sudden death. This study sought to compare the accuracy of post-mortem cross-sectional imaging (MR and CT) with the conventional autopsy in determining the cause of sudden death in the young.Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 01/2014; 16(1):44. DOI:10.1186/1532-429X-16-44 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In light of declining autopsy rates around the world, post-mortem MR imaging is a promising alternative to conventional autopsy in the investigation of infant death. A major drawback of this non-invasive autopsy approach is the fact that histopathological and microbiological examination of the tissue is not possible. The objective of this prospective study is to compare the performance of minimally invasive, virtual autopsy, including CT-guided biopsy, with conventional autopsy procedures in a paediatric population.Methods/design: Foetuses, newborns and infants that are referred for autopsy at three different institutions associated with the University of Zurich will be eligible for recruitment. All bodies will be examined with a commercial CT and a 3 Tesla MRI scanner, masked to the results of conventional autopsy. After cross-sectional imaging, CT-guided tissue sampling will be performed by a multifunctional robotic system (Virtobot) allowing for automated post-mortem biopsies. Virtual autopsy results will be classified with regards to the likely final diagnosis and major pathological findings and compared to the results of conventional autopsy, which remains the diagnostic gold standard. There is an urgent need for the development of alternative post-mortem examination methods, not only as a counselling tool for families and as a quality control measure for clinical diagnosis and treatment but also as an instrument to advance medical knowledge and clinical practice. This interdisciplinary study will determine whether virtual autopsy will narrow the gap in information between non-invasive and traditional autopsy procedures.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01888380.BMC Pediatrics 01/2014; 14(1):15. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-14-15 · 1.92 Impact FactorThis article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched formatRG Format enables you to read in context with side-by-side figures, citations, and feedback from experts in your field.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Post-mortem MRI is a potential diagnostic alternative to conventional autopsy, but few large prospective studies have compared its accuracy with that of conventional autopsy. We assessed the accuracy of whole-body, post-mortem MRI for detection of major pathological lesions associated with death in a prospective cohort of fetuses and children. METHODS: In this prospective validation study, we did pre-autopsy, post-mortem, whole-body MRI at 1·5 T in an unselected population of fetuses (≤24 weeks' or >24 weeks' gestation) and children (aged <16 years) at two UK centres in London between March 1, 2007 and Sept 30, 2011. With conventional autopsy as the diagnostic gold standard, we assessed MRI findings alone, or in conjunction with other minimally invasive post-mortem investigations (minimally invasive autopsy), for accuracy in detection of cause of death or major pathological abnormalities. A radiologist and pathologist who were masked to the autopsy findings indicated whether the minimally invasive autopsy would have been adequate. The primary outcome was concordance rate between minimally invasive and conventional autopsy. FINDINGS: We analysed 400 cases, of which 277 (69%) were fetuses and 123 (31%) were children. Cause of death or major pathological lesion detected by minimally invasive autopsy was concordant with conventional autopsy in 357 (89·3%, 95% CI 85·8-91·9) cases: 175 (94·6%, 90·3-97·0) of 185 fetuses at 24 weeks' gestation or less, 88 (95·7%, 89·3-98·3) of 92 fetuses at more than 24 weeks' gestation, 34 (81·0%, 67·7-90·0) of 42 newborns aged 1 month or younger, 45 (84·9%, 72·9-92·1) of 53 infants aged older than 1 month to 1 year or younger, and 15 (53·6%, 35·8-70·5) of 28 children aged older than 1 year to 16 years or younger. The dedicated radiologist or pathologist review of the minimally invasive autopsy showed that in 165 (41%) cases a full autopsy might not have been needed; in these cases, concordance between autopsy and minimally invasive autopsy was 99·4% (96·6-99·9). INTERPRETATION: Minimally invasive autopsy has accuracy similar to that of conventional autopsy for detection of cause of death or major pathological abnormality after death in fetuses, newborns, and infants, but was less accurate in older children. If undertaken jointly by pathologists and radiologists, minimally invasive autopsy could be an acceptable alternative to conventional autopsy in selected cases. FUNDING: Policy research Programme, Department of Health, UK.The Lancet 07/2013; 382(9888). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60134-8 · 39.21 Impact Factor