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Less invasive autopsy: an evidenced based approach
  1. Sudhin Thayyil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sudhin Thayyil, UCL Institute for Women's Health, University College London, 86-96 Chenies Mews, London WC1E 6HX, UK; s.thayyil{at}


Despite the initial promises, less invasive autopsy by postmortem MRI has not gained widespread acceptance and is not yet used as a clinical tool. Current evidence on postmortem MRI is primarily limited to examination of fetal brain malformations. Large prospective studies funded by the UK Department of Health evaluating accuracy of postmortem MRI are now nearing completion. Less invasive autopsies may have a major effect in resurrecting autopsy rates; however, an evidence based and systematic approach towards less invasive autopsy process is mandatory to ensure postmortem data remains accurate and credible. This review summarises the current evidence, practical aspects and future directions for non-forensic less invasive autopsy in fetuses, newborns and children. A joint effort between clinicians, radiologists, pathologists, parent groups and funding bodies is essential for the successful implementation of less invasive autopsy in the UK.

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  • Funding The UK Department of Health Policy Research Programme and Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre, University College Hospital and University College London.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the UCL Institute of Child Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.