Diagnostic Accuracy of Postmortem CT of Children: A Retrospective Single-Center Study.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Mar 27:1-13. doi: 10.2214/AJR.18.20534. [Epub ahead of print]
Shelmerdine SC1,2, Davendralingam N, Palm L, Minden T, Cary N, Sebire NJ1,2, Arthurs OJ1,2.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of postmortem CT in children compared with standard autopsy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This single-center retrospective study reviewed un-enhanced whole-body postmortem CT examinations of children less than 16 years old with corresponding autopsy reports irrespective of the clinical indication for referral for postmortem CT. Perinatal deaths were excluded. Postmortem CT was reported by experienced postmortem radiologists who were blinded to autopsy findings, with the primary outcome being concordance for the main pathologic diagnosis or findings leading to a cause of death. Autopsy performed by pediatric pathologists was the reference standard.
RESULTS: One hundred thirty-six patients (74 [54.4%] male and 62 [45.6%] female patients) were included. The mean age of the 136 patients was 2 years 1 month (range, 2 days-14.7 years). A cause of death at autopsy was found for 77 of the 136 (56.6%) patients. Postmortem CT depicted a correct cause of death in 55 of 77 (71.4%) patients; (55/136 overall [40.4%]), with the majority attributable to traumatic brain or body injuries. For major pathologic findings, diagnostic accuracy rates were a sensitivity of 71.4% (95% CI, 60.5-80.3%), specificity of 81.4% (95% CI, 69.6-89.3%), positive predictive value of 83.3% (95% CI, 72.6-90.4%), negative predictive value of 68.6% (95% CI, 57.0-78.2%), and concordance rate of 75.7% (95% CI, 67.9-82.2%). The sensitivity of postmortem CT versus autopsy was highest for intracranial (75.6%; 95% CI, 60.7-86.2%) and musculoskeletal (98.4%; 95% CI, 91.4-99.7%) abnormalities and lowest for cardiac (31.3%; 95% CI, 14.2-55.6%) and abdominal (53.8%; 95% CI, 29.1-78.6%) findings.
CONCLUSION: Postmortem CT gives an acceptable diagnostic concordance rate with autopsy of 71.4%, although identification of the cause of death overall was low at 40.4%. The highest accuracy rates were for intracranial and musculoskeletal abnormalities.
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