Quality of fetal, perinatal and infant autopsy reports. An audit of all reports of postmortem examinations following fetal, perinatal and infant deaths in Rogaland County, Western Norway, 1997–1999

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Abstract:

Bjugn R, Berland J. Quality of fetal, perinatal and infant autopsy reports. An audit of all reports of postmortem examinations following fetal, perinatal and infant deaths in Rogaland County, Western Norway, 1997–1999. APMIS 2002;110:746–52.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the quality of fetal, perinatal and infant (< 12 months of age) autopsy reports. One hundred and thirty-six reports were scored for seven major categories (History, External description, Internal examination, Histology report, Other investigations, Placenta, Conclusions/Commentary) derived from “Guidelines for post mortem reports” published by the Royal College of Pathologists. The time taken for the final reports to be issued was also investigated. Of the 136 reports, 31 failed to reach a minimum standard of a 50% score. The one major category clearly falling below the recommended standard was Conclusions/Commentary. Other major categories such as History, External description and Histology report were also in need of improvement. Only three final reports were issued within the Department of Pathology's goal of 4 weeks. Although 77% of the reports fulfilled a minimum standard of a 50% score, the audit clearly showed that the standardised report form used was in need of revision and that many reports failed to give the clinicians an evaluation of the data presented in the autopsy reports. Based on the present findings, a number of measures have been implemented in order to improve the quality of future fetal, perinatal and infant autopsy reports.

Keywords: Abortion; evaluation studies; medical audit; quality of health care; reference standards

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0463.2002.1101009.x

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Central Hospital of Rogaland, Stavanger, Norway

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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