postmortem histologyA term of art referring to the assessment by light microscopy of tissue from a deceased, which is allowed under Rule 9 of the UK Coroner’s Rules 2005, if the pathologist examining the body believes tissue microscopy bears upon the cause of death.
Post mortem histology should be taken
• To confirm macroscopic diagnosis, especially pneumonia, which is difficult to diagnose grossly;
• From a morphologically normal heart, in a suspected “sudden cardiac death”;
• In a “negative autopsy”, tissue from all of the major organs should be retained in order to exclude significant microscopic pathology;
• To assist in “dating” lesions of significance—e.g. pulmonary thromboemboli, other thrombi, injuries (cutaneous and visceral);
• To assist in classifying “naked eye” lesions—e.g. fatty liver; or
• In “protocol-driven” autopsies (e.g., SIDS/SUDI, epilepsy etc.) to ensure uniformity.