A series of 213 perioperative deaths was studied out of a total of 1451 consecutive necropsies carried out over three years. Discrepancies between the clinical and the necropsy diagnosis were assessed under four classes of discrepant diagnosis: class I, patient survival affected, treatable; class II, patient survival affected but not treatable; class III, correlated to cause of death but treatable; and class IV, incidental diagnosis which could not have been made before death. Major discrepancies of classes I and II were found in 44 (21%) and 62 (29%) cases, respectively. Minor discrepancies of classes III and IV were found in 63 (30%) and 101 (47%) cases, respectively. No discrepancies were found in 50 (23.5%) cases. These results confirm the continuing value of the necropsy in the assessment of perioperative deaths.
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