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Am J Clin Pathol. 1990 Oct;94(4):422-5.

Isolation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at autopsy one to six days postmortem.

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Department of Pathology, Aurora Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Blood and tissue were studied for potential infectivity at autopsy of ten patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Special attention was paid to the possibility of detecting HIV in bone at craniotomy. Postmortem intervals were one to six days. Specimens for HIV isolation included skull bone, brain, blood, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph node, and cerebrospinal fluid in one case. HIV grew in culture from at least one specimen from eight autopsies, one of which was performed six days postmortem. HIV was recovered from the blood of five patients and the tissue of five patients, including three with negative blood cultures. Skull bone contained HIV in two cases. HIV also grew from native spleen specimens stored for up to 14 days postmortem at 20 degrees C. Recommended precautions, including those for bone, are indicated at autopsy of HIV-infected patients even after long postmortem intervals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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