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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009 Oct;28(10):1191-8. doi: 10.1007/s10096-009-0762-0. Epub 2009 Jun 6.

Bacteriological investigation--significance of time lapse after death.

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University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


In cases of sudden unexpected death in infants and children (SUDI), microbiological investigation has been an important part of the autopsy protocol at the University of Oslo for the last 15 years. The purpose of this study was to compare the microbiological findings in samples taken at hospital admittance shortly after death and at autopsy. Blood cultures and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected both at the hospital and at autopsy; organ samples were additionally collected at autopsy. Hospital samples were collected at a median of 4.5 h (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.25-5) and autopsy samples at a median of 24.25 h (95% CI 22-25.5) after death. The proportion of positive cultures was stable over time; the post mortal time had no influence on bacterial growth. As long as the autopsy is performed within 48 h after death, prior microbiological examination is unnecessary. Blood culture, CSF and lung specimens are the best predictors in our study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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