Postmortem biopsy to obtain lung tissue in congenital diaphragmatic hernia

R. B. Van Loenhout, R. R. De Krijger, C. P. Van De Ven, I. W.J.M. Van Der Horst, L. W.J.E. Beurskens, D. Tibboel, R. Keijzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The accrual of human tissues from autopsies for diagnostic and translational research has decreased significantly over the last decades. Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate our experience with lung biopsy through a minithoracotomy as an alternative for obtaining postmortem tissue when full autopsy is refused in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) patients. Methods: Within 2 h of death we routinely asked parents for permission to perform an autopsy. Starting in 2001, parents who refused autopsy were asked permission for a postmortem lung biopsy. Pathology autopsy and biopsy reports were compared to clinical records. Results: Between 2001 and 2009, 46 patients died from CDH. Permission for autopsy was granted in 5 patients (11%). Of the remaining 41 patients, the parents of 15 (33%) agreed to postmortem lung biopsy. In all cases, additional findings were reported from the autopsy or biopsy, without changing the originally reported cause of death. In 1 case, we isolated fibroblasts from the lung biopsy using standardized cell culture techniques. Parents were able to take their child home with a minimal delay following biopsy. Conclusions: Parents refusing a full autopsy frequently agree to postmortem organ biopsy. This approach should therefore be considered as a valuable alternative, when permission for full autopsy is declined, for obtaining human tissues for both diagnostic and research purposes and is potentially applicable to other anomalies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsy
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Congenital lung anomalies
  • Minimally invasive procedure
  • Minithoracotomy


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