Interventions to improve rates of post-mortem examination after stillbirth

Sarah J Stock, Lesley Goldsmith, Margaret Evans, Ian A Laing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Despite recognition of the value of post-mortem examination following stillbirth, worldwide rates have declined since the early 1990s. There is a paucity of
published evidence relating to factors that can improve post-mortem uptake. The aim of this study was to assess post-mortem rates following stillbirth and identify trends in the past 18 years that may have affected acceptance of the investigation.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.</p><p>Results: Sharp declines in post-mortems coincided with publicity surrounding unlawful organ retention. Although nationally post-mortem rates have continued to fall, in our unit there was recovery in postmortem rates. This increase was associated with implementation of policies to promote the uptake of perinatal post-mortem, including availability of specialist perinatal pathologists, education in the value of post-mortem, and senior staff involvement in counselling regarding the procedure.</p><p>Conclusion: The need to improve uptake of post-mortem examination following stillbirth is internationally recognized. The results of this study suggest that increased local availability of specialist perinatal pathologists, who can support education in the value of post-mortem, along with senior staff obtaining consent, may help achieve this goal. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-50
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Stillbirth
  • Post-mortem
  • Autopsy
  • Perinatal mortality
  • Intrauterine death
  • Fetal loss


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