A comparative study of prenatal ultrasound findings and post-mortem examination in a tertiary referral centre

N Johns, W Al-Salti, P Cox, Mark Kilby

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    This retrospective study compares the findings of prenatal ultrasound, performed in a tertiary fetal medicine centre, with the results of post-mortem examination in pregnancies complicated by suspected fetal abnormality that results in fetal loss. The study was carried out over a year at a teaching hospital, Fetal Medicine Centre and Regional Centre for Perinatal Pathology. Results were directly compared and the level of agreement between the ultrasound and post-mortem findings described. These were classified as having complete agreement; major agreement or major disagreement. The group of cases with major agreement between findings was further divided into those with significant, or minor, additional findings at post-mortem examination. Over the 12-month period, 153 ultrasound cases were identified, of which 47 were also examined by autopsy and were thus suitable for comparison in this study (30.7%). Complete agreement between ultrasound and postmortem findings was found in 22 cases (46.8%). In 24 cases (51.1%), major agreement between ultrasound and post-mortem findings was seen. Of these, 11 had minor additional findings at post-mortem examination and 13 were found to have significant additional findings at post-mortem (27.7%), adding to the eventual diagnosis. In 12.8% of cases, post-mortem examination provided a definitive diagnosis. Only in one case was there complete discordance in the findings of the ultrasound examination and the autopsy (2.1%). No major disagreement between ultrasound and post-mortem findings was seen in 98% of cases. This study confirms the accuracy of prenatal ultrasound diagnosis in specialist centres, whilst emphasising the continuing importance of post-mortem examination in cases of fetal malformation to refine and, in some cases, define the diagnosis. Copyright (C) 2004 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)339-46
    Number of pages8
    JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
    Early online date21 May 2004
    Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2004


    • audit
    • postmortem
    • fetal anomaly


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