An audit of healthcare professionals’ knowledge regarding perinatal autopsy

Sarah Cullen, Eoghan Mooney, Brenda Casey, Paul Downey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Perinatal autopsy is one the most valuable investigations to ascertain the cause of death (Nijkamp et al., Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 22:167-175, 2017; Korteweg et al., AJOG 53, e1-12, 2012; Late Interuterine Death and Stillbirth’ RCOG Green-top Guideline No.55, 2015). Discussions about perinatal autopsy can be difficult for parents and healthcare professionals. Perinatal staff need a good level of knowledge and understanding regarding perinatal autopsy in order to discuss the procedure with parents. This study aims to investigate healthcare professionals’ knowledge regarding perinatal autopsy. Methods: An audit conducted in a large teaching hospital using a questionnaire was developed and distributed to healthcare professionals in the hospital. Results: Seventy healthcare professionals participated in the audit. Of those surveyed, 64% (n = 45) have discussed perinatal autopsy with a mother and the majority of healthcare professionals (67%) found this difficult. Self-reported levels of understanding were found to be low with just 10% reporting ‘excellent understanding’. Conclusions: The results of this audit highlight the need for further education among all healthcare professionals working with bereaved families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-585
Number of pages3
JournalIrish Journal of Medical Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Autopsy
  • Perinatal death
  • Post-mortem
  • Stillbirth


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