Verbal Autopsies

The reader should note that "verbal autopsies" are not autopsies in a technical sense; the name was coined to describe attempts to diagnose diseases and causes of death by interviewing the next of kin and thus to come reasonably close to what might have been found at autopsy. Of course, the meaning of the term autopsy—"a seeing for oneself' —makes the name "verbal autopsies" an oxymoron. "Verbal autopsies" are practiced primarily in tropical countries. Two references are listed here because the effort is laudable if no autopsy permission can be obtained.

1. Quigley MA, Armstrong Schellenberg Jr, Snow RW. Algorithms for verbal autopsies: a validation study in Kenyan children. Bull World Health Org 1996;74:147-154.

2. Chandramohan D, Maude GH, Rodrigues LC, Hayes RJ. Verbal autopsies for adult deaths: issues in their development and validation. Int J Epidemiol 1994;23:213-222.

Alphabetic List of Diseases and Conditions, with Recommendations for Case-Specific Autopsy Procedures

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