Autopsy acceptance rate and reasons for decline in Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda

JA Cox, RL Lukande, A Kateregga, H Mayanja-Kizza, YC Manabe, R Colebunders

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Objective To determine the autopsy acceptance rate and reasons for decline at Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda. Methods The next of kin of patients who died in a combined infectious diseases and gastro-enterology ward of Mulago Hospital were approached to answer a questionnaire concerning characteristics of their deceased relative. During the interview their consent was asked to perform a complete autopsy. If autopsy was declined, the next of kin were asked to provide their reason for the decline. Results Permission to perform an autopsy was requested in 158 (54%) of the 290 deaths that occurred during the study period. In 60 (38%) cases autopsy was accepted. Fifty-nine autopsies were performed. For 82% of refusals a reason was listed; mainly 'not wanting to delay the burial' (58%), 'no use to know the cause of death' (16%) and 'being satisfied with the clinical cause of death' (10%). Conclusion The autopsy rate achieved under study conditions was 38% compared to rates of 5% in Mulago Hospital over the past decade. Timely request and rapid performance of autopsies appear to be important determinants of autopsy acceptance. A motivated team of pathologists and clinicians is required to increase autopsy acceptance.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)1015-1018
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Infectious diseases
    • Gastroenterology
    • Causes of death
    • Autopsy
    • Acceptability
    • Consent
    • Families
    • Determinants
    • Motivation
    • Information
    • Time factors
    • Uganda
    • Africa-East


    Dive into the research topics of 'Autopsy acceptance rate and reasons for decline in Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this