[Significance of autopsy. Continuous evaluation of autopsy findings by internists]

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1986 Feb 1;116(5):130-4.
[Article in German]


To continuously monitor the impact of autopsy results, a short questionnaire was forwarded with each list of autopsy diagnoses to the clinician who had requested the autopsy. This continuous feedback between clinician and pathologist reveals unsolved problems and provides the opportunity for their interdisciplinary evaluation. The 1188 autopsies were done from 1980 to 1984 at the Institute of Pathology for the Medical Clinic, Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, an acute-care medical teaching hospital department containing about 200 beds. The autopsy rate was 52% for in-hospital deaths. The clinician deemed that about 9/10 of all autopsies had confirmed his diagnosis. About 3/4 of all autopsies disclosed previously unknown and clinically important findings. Major discrepancies between clinical diagnosis and autopsy findings were noted in about 10% of all autopsies. Further, in approximately 1/10 of all autopsies the findings were considered to be of potential therapeutic relevance had they been known before death. The results confirm the relevance of autopsy for the practice of controlled clinical medicine based on objective criteria.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Pathology
  • Time Factors