Clinical and post-mortem assessment of the cause of death

The Journal of Pathology
F Hartveit


Analysis of the clinical and post-mortem assessment of the underlying cause of death in 742 autopsies showed that over- and underdiagnosis cancelled each other out in the majority of the main diagnostic groups, so there was little difference in the total number of cases recorded in the different groups after clinical and post-mortem investigation. However, in the individual case the reliability of the clinical diagnosis varied greatly with the nature of the diagnosis and its degree of certainty. Reliability was for example high with clinically certain arteriosclerotic heart disease and low with cerebrovascular disease. Underdiagnosis of lung cancer is still a problem. Lack of interest in autopsy investigation may be reflection of lack of clinical involvement or therapeutic frustration rather than the use of sophisticated diagnostic procedures, as has been assumed by previous authors. It is suggested that the idea of selection of cases for autopsy should be replaced by selection of autopsies for microscopic investigation on the basis of the macroscopic post-mortem findings. It is suggested also that clinicians might profitably attend autopsies on patients in their sphere of interest that were not admitted under their care.

Related Concepts

Staff Attitude
Near-Death Experience
Postmortem Diagnosis
Malignant Neoplasms

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

Alzheimer's Disease: MS4A

Variants within the membrane-spanning 4-domains subfamily A (MS4A) gene cluster have recently been implicated in Alzheimer's disease in genome-wide association studies. Here is the latest research on Alzheimer's disease and MS4A.

Pediculosis pubis

Pediculosis pubis is a disease caused by a parasitic insect known as Pthirus pubis, which infests human pubic hair, as well as other areas with hair including eye lashes. Here is the latest research.

Rh Isoimmunization

Rh isoimmunization is a potentially preventable condition that occasionally is associated with significant perinatal morbidity or mortality. Discover the latest research on Rh Isoimmunization here.

Genetic Screens in iPSC-derived Brain Cells

Genetic screening is a critical tool that can be employed to define and understand gene function and interaction. This feed focuses on genetic screens conducted using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived brain cells. It also follows CRISPR-Cas9 approaches to generating genetic mutants as a means of understanding the effect of genetics on phenotype.

Enzyme Evolution

This feed focuses on molecular models of enzyme evolution and new approaches (such as adaptive laboratory evolution) to metabolic engineering of microorganisms. Here is the latest research.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Pharmacology of Proteinopathies

This feed focuses on the pharmacology of proteinopathies - diseases in which proteins abnormally aggregate (i.e. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.). Discover the latest research in this field with this feed.

Alignment-free Sequence Analysis Tools

Alignment-free sequence analyses have been applied to problems ranging from whole-genome phylogeny to the classification of protein families, identification of horizontally transferred genes, and detection of recombined sequences. Here is the latest research.