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September 2, 1983

The Autopsy in Clinical Quality Control

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Kaiser Foundation Hospital (Drs Scottolini and Weinstein); and the Departments of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Pathology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii (Dr Scottolini), Honolulu.

JAMA. 1983;250(9):1192-1194. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340090048028

The postmortem examination, despite declining rates, remains the final word in diagnostic quality control and a major tool in research and education. In 100 autopsies studied at our institution, it was found that 13% of major clinical diagnoses were not confirmed, and in 24% the cause of death was not in the clinical diagnoses. These figures demonstrate a higher clinical diagnostic accuracy rate than in previous studies, and the possible reasons for this are discussed. The length of hospital stay is not found to have any bearing on diagnostic accuracy.

(JAMA 1983;250:1192-1194)