Sep 1, 1988

The autopsy: a useful tool or an old relic?

The Journal of Pathology
S J PeacockN Kirkham


In a combined retrospective and prospective study, clinical and autopsy data were collected to assess the changes in autopsy rate in recent years, the attitudes of clinicians and pathologists to the autopsy, and the accuracy of ante-mortem diagnosis when compared with autopsy findings. Between 1962 and 1986, the total autopsy rate for hospital patients remained relatively constant, with an increase in Coroner's and a decrease in the hospital autopsy rate. Analysis of 5064 deaths over a 6-year period showed a significantly greater number of males than females coming to autopsy and a decrease in autopsy rate with age for both sexes. Attitudes to the autopsy were assessed using a questionnaire. The majority of clinicians considered the autopsy to be an important investigation despite new diagnostic techniques and confirmed its value in teaching and research. Seventy-seven per cent agreed that autopsy findings occasionally led to modification of the treatment of subsequent patients with the same condition. Pathologists disagreed that the autopsy is outdated in its present form and considered that not enough hospital autopsies are being requested. They also upheld its use and value in education. The cause of death as given by clinic...Continue Reading

  • References11
  • Citations23


  • References11
  • Citations23


Mentioned in this Paper

Cause of Death
Retrospective Studies
Staff Attitude

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.

Bone Marrow Neoplasms

Bone Marrow Neoplasms are cancers that occur in the bone marrow. Discover the latest research on Bone Marrow Neoplasms here.

IGA Glomerulonephritis

IgA glomerulonephritis is a chronic form of glomerulonephritis characterized by deposits of predominantly Iimmunoglobin A in the mesangial area. Discover the latest research on IgA glomerulonephritis here.

Cryogenic Electron Microscopy

Cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) allows the determination of biological macromolecules and their assemblies at a near-atomic resolution. Here is the latest research.

STING Receptor Agonists

Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) are a group of transmembrane proteins that are involved in the induction of type I interferon that is important in the innate immune response. The stimulation of STING has been an active area of research in the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Here is the latest research on STING receptor agonists.

LRRK2 & Immunity During Infection

Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are a risk-factor for developing Parkinson’s disease. However, LRRK2 has been shown to function as a central regulator of vesicular trafficking, infection, immunity, and inflammation. Here is the latest research on the role of this kinase on immunity during infection.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphospholipid syndrome or antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS or APLS), is an autoimmune, hypercoagulable state caused by the presence of antibodies directed against phospholipids.

Meningococcal Myelitis

Meningococcal myelitis is characterized by inflammation and myelin damage to the meninges and spinal cord. Discover the latest research on meningococcal myelitis here.

Alzheimer's Disease: MS4A

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