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Spectrum of postmortem autopsy findings in native and surgically corrected hearts with congenital malformations: a 10-year single-center experience
Cardiovascular Pathology  (IF2.185),  Pub Date : 2020-11-12, DOI: 10.1016/j.carpath.2020.107309
Ondrej Fabian, Roman Gebauer, Viktor Tomek, Ludmila Hornofova, Mariia Havova, Ondrej Materna, Jan Janousek


We reviewed a spectrum of congenital heart defects assessed in our center between 1/2010 and 4/2020, evaluated their gross anatomy, assessed the age distribution, evaluated performed surgical procedures, and correlated gross and ultrasound findings.


All necroptic cases and explanted hearts that underwent specialized cardiac autopsy were included in this study. Autopsy findings including gross description of congenital heart defects together with echocardiographic findings were retrospectively assessed. In surgically corrected hearts, the operation records were included as well. All congenital heart defects and surgical procedures were subclassified into main and additional category.


The study included 92 necroptic cases of live-born children, 7 stillbirths, 2 cases of young adults, 50 induced abortions, and 5 explanted hearts, with median age 36 weeks. The most frequently encountered leading congenital heart defects were hypoplastic left heart syndrome, aortic stenosis, septal defects, or persistent arterial trunk. Fifty-one patients underwent surgical repair represented mainly by valvuloplasties, aortoplasty, and procedures leading to univentricular circulation. In the native hearts, 4 postnatal and 16 abortion/stillbirth cases showed discordance between gross and sonographic findings, mainly attributed to missed ventricular septal defect. Gestational age of the discordant group was significantly lower compared to the concordant group (P= .007).


Autopsy continues to provide essential information about the morphology of congenital heart defects. However, the encountered congenital heart defects were usually complex, often surgically corrected or evaluated as a result of induced abortion or still birth. Cardiac autopsy therefore places high demands on pathologists with regards to proper gross heart assessment. It is also an invaluable part of quality control in prenatal cardiology.