Current utilization of pediatric postmortem imaging in North America: a questionnaire-based survey

On behalf of the SPR Postmortem Imaging Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Postmortem imaging is used more widely as the number of conventional autopsies has decreased over the last several decades. It is widely accepted in Europe, Asia and Oceania, but there has been a delay in acceptance in North America. Education, scanning protocols, resourcing and clinical incentives are needed to support this emerging field. Objective: To determine the use of postmortem imaging and define perceived barriers to its implementation with the goal of expanding postmortem imaging in the United States and Canada. Materials and methods: We sent an online survey to active members of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) addressing the use of postmortem imaging, indications, readers, practical aspects, anticipated barriers and potential solutions to more widespread use. Results: More than 50% of the 50 institutions that returned surveys used postmortem computed tomography; 24% used postmortem magnetic resonance imaging. Most postmortem imaging cases were read by radiologists. Fewer than 50% had formal correlation with autopsy results or an established relationship with the local medical examiner. Seven institutions reported reimbursement for postmortem imaging. Major barriers to postmortem imaging included lack of funding and lack of interest among clinicians. Funding and education were seen as important issues requiring attention. Conclusion: While most responding institutions provide pediatric postmortem imaging, the modalities, protocols, reporting procedures and clinical correlation vary widely. A lack of funding and few opportunities for education are limiting factors. Attention to these issues along with active support from the SPR are seen as potential solutions to recognize the value and promote widespread acceptance of postmortem imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1143
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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