West Midlands perinatal mortality survey, 1987. An audit of 300 perinatal autopsies

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991 Jul;98(7):624-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1991.tb13446.x.


As part of the West Midlands regional perinatal mortality survey an audit of perinatal autopsies was performed in 10 of 20 districts in the region. Autopsy reports were available from 300 of the 426 deaths (70%) reported in these districts. These were coded for 8 aspects including the clinical summary, body measurements, descriptive content, organ weights, post mortem radiology and microbiology, histology and other relevant investigations e.g., biochemistry, cytogenetics. Overall 44% of the autopsies failed to attain an arbitrary minimum score of 300, the mean score being 299. Excluding those autopsies performed at the regional centre these figures were 50% and 268 respectively. These data indicate that a high autopsy rate does not necessarily reflect a high quality of service and further emphasise the concerns that have been expressed by obstetricians, paediatricians, geneticists, parents and parliamentarians about the perinatal pathology services in the United Kingdom.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy / standards*
  • England
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Medical Audit