Lung autopsy

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Author: Mikael Häggström [note 1]
Autopsy of the lungs, not including larger pulmonary vessels (instead summarized at Autopsy - Other thorax).

Basic autopsy cutting

In non-forensic Autopsy:

The lungs may be cut after removing the heart through cutting through the major vessels close to it, or by removing each lung by cuts by each lung hilum.
  • Dissect the pulmonary arterial system, from the pulmonary trunk and including at least segmental arteries.
  • Dissect the bronchial tree, at least to segmental bronchi. Check for obstructions.
  • Weigh each lung (possibly first if having cut each lung at the hilus).
  • Make some additional sections through the lung parenchyma. Squeeze at each side to detect any pus and edema.[1]
For context, see Autopsy

Gross evaluation

Gross pathology of miliary "millet seed-like" tuberculosis.
  • A spongy consistency, and watery and frothy liquid being pressed from the parenchyma, indicates simple edema.[2]
  • A spongy consistency and reddish (blood-stained) fluid being pressed from the parenchyma, indicates acute congestion.[2]
  • A brownish or dark reddish color of the fluid pressed from the parenchyma indicates chronic congestion, and may not have a spongy consistency.[2]

Fixation

Generally 10% neutral buffered formalin.

  See also: General notes on fixation


Microscopic evaluation

Template:Main lung microscopic evaluation

If respiratory epithelial shedding is seen, look for vascular leakage, mucus hypersecretion and/or widespread airway narrowing, together indicating asthma death.[3] Otherwise, it is a frequent postmortem change.

Additional potential findings are mentioned in the general Lungs article.

Reporting

Report findings and if they are consistent with already known diagnoses.

Example:

Histopathology of pulmonary congestion and siderophages.jpg
Presence of sideophages indicating chronic heart failure. Prominent vessels, including alveolar capillaries, and a moderate lymphocytic infiltrate, consistent with chronic heart failure or acute decompensation.

Further information: Autopsy

Notes

  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Patholines:Authorship for details.

Main page

References

  1. Burton, Julian L.; Rutty, Guy N. (2010). The Hospital Autopsy A Manual of Fundamental Autopsy Practice (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0340965146. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 page 62 in: J. Martin Beattie (2014). Post-Mortem Methods . Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107418004. 
  3. Madea, B (2014). Handbook of forensic medicine . Hoboken, N.J: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-118-57062-3. OCLC 872114659. 

Image sources