Histopathological Analysis in Medicolegal Autopsies of 304 Cases - A Two Year Study at a Tertiary Care Centre

Author(s): Subitha Kandamuthan1

BACKGROUND Autopsies are great tools of learning for the pathologists. They shed light into the pathological processes that lead to the death of the person. This study was undertaken to determine the age and gender distribution of the deceased individuals according to the cause of death and compare the histopathological diagnosis with gross diagnosis. METHODS All 304 autopsy specimens received in histopathology lab for a period of 2 years were reviewed. Autopsy records, clinical case notes, gross specimens and histopathological slides were retrieved, wherever available. The results were analysed based on gross findings and histological examination. Histopathological findings were noted. Data was analysed using the SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software. Age and gender distribution, frequency of histological findings, causes of deaths and number of histological findings according to body systems were tabulated. RESULTS The present study showed that, 212 cases were males and 92 cases were females. Pathology of highest percentage of cases was detected in cardiovascular system (39.5%) followed by respiratory system (12.2%). Myocardial infarction was seen in 12.8% cases, pneumonia in 9.2%, cirrhosis of liver in 4.9%, coronary occlusion/narrowing in 10.5%, myocarditis in 11.5%, and pericarditis in 2%. Some of the other pathological findings noted were tuberculosis, burns, pancreatitis, meningitis, encephalitis, cardiomyopathy, gastric ulcer, gangrene intestine and sacrococcygeal teratoma. CONCLUSIONS Histopathological analysis has an important role in determining the cause of death. Co-existing morbidities and rare diseases may be diagnosed at the time of autopsy which was not diagnosed ante mortem.