Pathological findings in mine workers: I. Description of the PATHAUT database

Am J Ind Med. 1987;12(1):71-80. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700120108.


A computerized system for recording the results of structured, numerically coded autopsy reports on various types of mine workers has been in operation at the National Centre for Occupational Health in Johannesburg since 1975. Historical developments, particularly those associated with compensation for occupational disease, have resulted in very high autopsy rates, especially among whites. Since its inception, the pathology automation (PATHAUT) system has accumulated the results of more than 33,000 autopsies. The data set is described in the hope of stimulating interest in the possible uses of the data and encouraging collaborative research. Some characteristics of the database with potential research implications are discussed. These include differing age and work patterns for blacks and whites and geographic factors with potential influence on whether a body or only the cardiorespiratory organs are sent for examination.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Mining*
  • Occupational Diseases / pathology*
  • South Africa