Pediatric surgical pathology: pitfalls and strategies for error prevention

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006 May;130(5):610-2. doi: 10.1043/1543-2165(2006)130[610:PSPPAS]2.0.CO;2.


Context: Few data exist regarding quality measures for pediatric surgical pathology, types of errors, or how error-prone situations and diagnostic pitfalls can be minimized.

Objective: This review reports on survey findings regarding methodology for quality assurance and error detection measurement and classification in pediatric surgical pathology. It presents information regarding, and quality aspects of, intraoperative consultations in pediatric surgical pathology. General strategies for identifying diagnostic pitfalls in pediatric surgical pathology are briefly discussed.

Data sources: A survey of children's hospitals based on a survey created by the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology, literature review, and institutional quality assurance records provided information for this review.

Conclusions: Approaches to quality assurance and error reduction in pediatric surgical pathology are similar to those used in general surgical pathology. The children's hospitals that were surveyed used a variety of standard quality assurance measures. Because of differences in data collection, classification, and reporting, it is not possible to provide a detailed analysis of the types of diagnostic error across institutions at this time. Intraoperative consultations are a potential source of error. Pediatric neoplasms and Hirschsprung disease account for the majority of intraoperative consultations in the pediatric setting. Further considerations include the unique aspects of pediatric medical and neoplastic disorders and special diagnostic criteria, classification, grading, and staging requirements.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pathology, Surgical / standards*
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Societies, Medical
  • Utah