The value of autopsy in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery.
Autopsy has been considered extremely helpful in determining the accuracy of the premorbid diagnosis. With recent advances in diagnostic imaging, the value of the autopsy has been called into question. The aim of this study was to assess the value of the pediatric autopsy in the current era of advanced diagnostic technology and sophisticated surgical intervention for congenital heart disease (CHD) and also to determine the autopsy's potential impact on clinical management. We compared the data from the postmortem examination of 29 children with CHD with the data obtained before death and evaluated for the accuracy of the diagnosis of the cardiac anatomy as well as the cause of death. The diagnosis of the anatomy was confirmed in 13 cases (45%), additional cardiovascular abnormalities with potential clinical impact were found in 11 cases (38%), and additional abnormalities without clinical impact were found in 5 cases (17%). The cause of death was confirmed in 15 cases (52%), determined by autopsy in 12 cases (41%), and uncertain in 2 cases (7%). We conclude that the pediatric autopsy continues to provide clinically relevant information with a potential impact on patient management and to reveal unexpected causes of death in a significant proportion of patients with CHD.
W B Saunders
Sun, Chen-Chih J; Gladys Alonsonzana; Jon C Love; Ling Li; and John P Straumanis.
"The value of autopsy in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery.."