Background: The accrual of human tissues from autopsies for diagnostic and translational research has decreased significantly over the last decades. Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate our experience with lung biopsy through a minithoracotomy as an alternative for obtaining postmortem tissue when full autopsy is refused in congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) patients. Methods: Within 2 h of death we routinely asked parents for permission to perform an autopsy. Starting in 2001, parents who refused autopsy were asked permission for a postmortem lung biopsy. Pathology autopsy and biopsy reports were compared to clinical records. Results: Between 2001 and 2009, 46 patients died from CDH. Permission for autopsy was granted in 5 patients (11%). Of the remaining 41 patients, the parents of 15 (33%) agreed to postmortem lung biopsy. In all cases, additional findings were reported from the autopsy or biopsy, without changing the originally reported cause of death. In 1 case, we isolated fibroblasts from the lung biopsy using standardized cell culture techniques. Parents were able to take their child home with a minimal delay following biopsy. Conclusions: Parents refusing a full autopsy frequently agree to postmortem organ biopsy. This approach should therefore be considered as a valuable alternative, when permission for full autopsy is declined, for obtaining human tissues for both diagnostic and research purposes and is potentially applicable to other anomalies. Copyright

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Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research
Department of Pathology

van Loenhout, R.B, de Krijger, R.R, van de Ven, C.P, van der Horst, I.W.J.M, Beurkens, L.W.J.E, Tibboel, D, & Keijzer, R. (2013). Postmortem biopsy to obtain lung tissue in congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Neonatology: fetal and neonatal research, 103(3), 213–217. doi:10.1159/000345921