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Clinical utility of GI pathology data: implications for practising pathologists

Abstract

Gastrointestinal (GI) tract pathology represents one of the largest individual specialties within cellular pathology departments globally. As with other specialties, clear communication with clinicians providing primary care for the patient is of utmost importance for optimal management and for appropriate use of resources such as endoscopy. A wide breadth of neoplastic and inflammatory conditions afflicts the GI tract. Here, we aim to illustrate how pathology reporting of GI tract specimens influences patient management and specifically how precise reporting of key parameters in different specimen types and different disease processes can directly impact patient care. We describe the potential clinical relevance of selected pathology data items pertinent to specific conditions and highlight areas of contention with respect to the significance of some pathology features. Recent guidelines are described where a change, for example, in diagnostic criteria for a condition is described, or criteria influencing further management such as endoscopic surveillance. The aim of this review is to focus on the clinical importance of careful written communication between the pathologist and primary clinician, illustrated by selective clinical scenarios involving the upper and lower GI tracts.

  • gastrointestinal diseases
  • gastrointestinal neoplasms
  • pathology
  • surgical

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