We evaluate the evolution over time of discrepancies between clinical diagnoses and postmortem findings in critically ill patients and assess the factors associated with these discrepancies. We conducted a prospective study of all consecutive patients who underwent autopsy in a medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) between January 2008 and December 2015. Among 7655 patients admitted to our ICU, 671 (8.8%) died. Clinical autopsy was performed in 215 (32%) patients. Major missed diagnoses were noted in 38 patients (17.7%). Eighteen patients (8.4%) had class I discrepancies, and 20 patients (9.3%) had class II discrepancies. The most frequently missed diagnoses were invasive aspergillosis, intestinal ischemia, myocardial infarction, cancer, and intra-abdominal abscesses. We did not find a statistically significant correlation between any premortem factor, including age, sex, severity of illness, length of hospital stay before ICU admission, length of ICU stay before death, duration of mechanical ventilation, or admitting unit, and the level of agreement between clinical and pathological diagnosis. In the last decades, the discrepancies between clinical and autopsy diagnoses persisted despite advances in medical skills and technology. Specific clinical entities such as invasive aspergillosis, mesenteric ischemia, myocardial infarction, intra-abdominal abscesses, and neoplastic diseases remain a diagnostic challenge in critically ill patients. Clinical level of diagnostic certainty does not increase with specific premortem characteristics.
Human Pathology – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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