Chapter-17 Fetal/Neonatal Autopsy

BOOK TITLE: An Introduction to Genetics and Fetal Medicine

1. Chaddha Vandana
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
1. Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi, India, Moolchand Mother and Child Hospital New Delhi, Sattva Fetal Medicine Centre, New Delhi, India
Chapter keywords


Autopsy can be performed in conjunction with perinatal pathologist and geneticist. If a perinatal pathologist is not available at the hospital where the stillbirth occurred, specimens may be sent for evaluation at a medical center with appropriate personnel and facilities. The fetus can be transferred to another institution intact in 10% formalin. Good documentation and careful dissection is essential. Photographs of any malformations, results of laboratory and imaging studies, unusual findings, and pertinent negative findings are extremely important. The cause of fetal malformation and death can often be determined through gross and histopathologic examination of the fetus and placenta. Findings at perinatal autopsy have been reported to change the clinical diagnosis of the cause of fetal death or yield additional findings in 22 to 76% of cases. This new information often influences management of future pregnancies. As an example, a study including 1477 stillbirths reported that autopsy findings identified the cause of death in 46% of cases and yielded new information in 51%. This new information changed the estimated recurrence risk in 40% of cases, and changed recommendations for preconceptional care in 9%, prenatal diagnostic procedures in 21%, prenatal management in 7%, and neonatal management in 3%.

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