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Pathology. 2009 Feb;41(2):161-7.

Synoptic reporting improves histopathological assessment of pancreatic resection specimens.

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Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Pacific Highway, St Leonards, NSW, Australia.



We examined whether introduction of a standardised pancreatic cancer minimum data set improved the reporting of key pathological features across multiple institutions.


From seven different pathology departments that are members of the New South Wales Pancreatic Cancer Network, 109 free text reports and 68 synoptic reports were compared.


AJCC stage could not be inferred from 44% of free text reports, whereas stage was reported in all 68 synoptic reports. In the free text reports 28 different names were used to designate margins. All margins were reported in only 12 (11%) of the free text reports compared with 64 (94%) of the synoptic reports (p = 0.0011). The presence or absence of lymphovascular or perineural invasion was reported in 72 (66%) and 92 (84%) of free text reports, respectively. In contrast, lymphovascular space and perineural invasion were reported in all synoptic reports (p = 0.0011 and p = 0.0058).


We conclude that synoptic reporting of pancreatic resections without any other intervention increases the information contained within histopathology reports. Therefore, the introduction of minimal data set synoptic reports is a simple and feasible mechanism to immediately improve reporting for pancreatectomy specimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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