Perinatal and infant autopsy

Roshan Adappa, Shantini Paranjothy, Z Roberts, Patrick Cartlidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To measure perinatal and infant autopsy rate in Wales over a 10-year period and study factors influencing the decision to perform an autopsy.

Design: Retrospective cohort analysis of data from the All Wales Perinatal Survey.

Methods: Autopsy rates were calculated over a 10-year period (1994–2003), and reasons for not performing an autopsy were noted. Two time periods, 1994–1996 and 2001–2003 were compared, to study changing autopsy patterns.

Results: Over the 10-year period, there were 4393 perinatal and infant deaths, with data available for 4306 (98%) cases. Consent for autopsy was requested in 89% of cases and granted in 68%. When compared, the 3-year cumulative autopsy rate fell from 67.5% (95% confidence interval (CI) 65% to 69%) in 1994–1996, to 52.7% (CI 49% to 55%) in 2001–2003. The difference in the proportion of autopsies performed between the two time periods was 14.8% (CI 11% to 18%). Parental consent was granted in 76.2% (CI 73% to 78%) of cases in 1994–1996 and 60% (CI 57% to 63%) of cases in 2001–2003. The difference in proportion in consent for autopsy in the two time periods was 16% (CI 12% to 20%).

Conclusions: A decrease in perinatal and infant autopsy rates has been found in Wales over the past 10 years. Parental refusal has been the main cause of this decline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F49-F50
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2007


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