Current status of paediatric post-mortem imaging: An ESPR questionnaire-based survey

Owen J. Arthurs, Rick R. Van Rijn, Neil J. Sebire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The use of post-mortem imaging, including skeletal radiography, CT and MRI, is increasing, providing a minimally invasive alternative to conventional autopsy techniques. The development of clinical guidelines and national standards is being encouraged, particularly for cross-sectional techniques. Objective: To outline the current practice of post-mortem imaging amongst members of the European Society of Paediatric Radiology (ESPR). Materials and methods: We e-mailed an online questionnaire of current post-mortem service provisions to members of the ESPR in January 2013. The survey included direct questions about what services were offered, the population imaged, current techniques used, imaging protocols, reporting experience and intended future involvement. Results: Seventy-one percent (47/66) of centres from which surveys were returned reported performing some form of post-mortem imaging in children, of which 81% perform radiographs, 51% CT and 38% MRI. Eighty-seven percent of the imaging is performed within the radiology or imaging departments, usually by radiographers (75%), and 89% is reported by radiologists, of which 64% is reported by paediatric radiologists. Overall, 72% of positive respondents have a standardised protocol for radiographs, but only 32% have such a protocol for CT and 27% for MRI. Sixty-one percent of respondents wrote that this is an important area that needs to be developed. Conclusion: Overall, the majority of centres provide some post-mortem imaging service, most of which is performed within an imaging department and reported by a paediatric radiologist. However, the populations imaged as well as the details of the services offered are highly variable among institutions and lack standardisation. We have identified people who would be interested in taking this work forwards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-251
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-sectional imaging
  • Fetal death
  • Perinatal death
  • Post-mortem imaging
  • Protocol
  • Skeletal radiography
  • Stillbirth


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