The Pediatric and Perinatal Autopsy Manual has been written for general pathologists that have to perform pediatric and perinatal autopsies during the course of their mainly “adult” work.
Babies and children aren’t simply “small adults.” The incidence, rarity, and peculiarity of many diseases and conditions is such that it justifies the need for a separate subspecialty of pathology addressing all conditions of unborn babies, infants, and children up to the age of 16 years. The autopsy caseload of this age group is extremely rich and varied, to the point that some cases are unique. This is down to the peculiar genetic and developmental abnormalities that characterize this period. However, the practice of pediatric and perinatal pathology is not always carried out in specialist centers where experts in this discipline are available. This is true in many countries around the world where there are few exclusively pediatric hospitals. Referral centers may be far away and it is not always possible to send these cases for specialist post mortem. In these circumstances, the pediatric and perinatal autopsies, as well as the placental examinations, are carried out by general pathologists.
The Pediatric and Perinatal Autopsy Manual is also aimed at trainee pediatric pathologists and forensic pathologists who have to perform pediatric autopsies. It is designed and written as a practical bench-book, where each chapter is written by experts in the relevant field. A key feature of the book is that chapters are organized by types of autopsy rather than by organ system. This is because we anticipated that the reader will want to find answers to practical questions posed around the complex diseases and conditions that can affect the fetus and/or the placenta, the newborn, the infant, or the child. Thus, the book begins with a detailed explanation of how to perform a pediatric post mortem. A separate chapter deals with the small and frequently macerated fetus. Other categories, such as stillbirths and intrauterine growth restriction, are also dealt with separately. Premature infants present their own problems and a chapter is devoted to the particular problems of premature babies, while intrapartum and neonatal deaths are also described separately.
No book on perinatal pathology is complete without a chapter on placental diseases and we have one that is concise and comprehensive. Infections and nutritional problems are prevalent in many countries and a chapter is dedicated to these subjects. Useful algorithms and clues to metabolic and genetic autopsies are presented. Some specific problems such as hydrops or systemic conditions requiring more detailed description have their own chapters.