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Am J Forensic Med Pathol ; 42(2): 118-120, 2021 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174988


ABSTRACT: We assess the utility of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines-based coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) screening checklist for postmortem severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) surveillance, detailing the relationship between the histologic findings at autopsy and attribution of death to COVID-19.SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swabs were collected at the time of autopsy in all "checklist-positive" decedents. Additional "checklist-negative" decedents were randomly tested daily. Lung slides were blindly reviewed by 3 pathologists, assessing for the presence of diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) and other findings. Sixteen decedents had positive postmortem SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swabs and underwent complete autopsies. Seven decedents had positive screening checklists. Of these, 4 had DAD and 1 had COVID-19-associated thromboembolic disease. Of the 9 decedents with negative screening checklists, 2 had DAD, but only 1 was attributed to COVID-19; the other was likely drug related. Acute bronchopneumonia was the second most common finding, and aspiration was the likely etiology in cases without concomitant DAD. COVID-19-related DAD was identified more commonly in decedents who screened positive by CDC checklist, but false-negatives did occur. Medical examiner offices should maintain a low threshold for random testing of decedents even when COVID-19 is not suspected.

COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/mortality , Lung/pathology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Autopsy , Bronchopneumonia/pathology , COVID-19 Testing , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. , Checklist , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Embolism/pathology , Respiratory Aspiration/pathology , Specimen Handling , United States , Young Adult
Arch Pathol Lab Med ; 145(1): 11-21, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067935


CONTEXT.­: Respiratory failure appears to be the ultimate mechanism of death in most patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Studies of postmortem COVID-19 lungs largely report diffuse alveolar damage and capillary fibrin thrombi, but we have also observed other patterns. OBJECTIVE.­: To report demographic and radiographic features along with macroscopic, microscopic, and microbiologic postmortem lung findings in patients with COVID-19 infections. DESIGN.­: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection and postmortem examination (March 2020-May 2020) were included. Clinical findings were abstracted from medical records. Lungs were microscopically reviewed independently by 4 thoracic pathologists. Imaging studies were reviewed by a thoracic radiologist. RESULTS.­: Eight patients (7 men, 87.5%; median age, 79 years; range, 69-96 years) died within a median of 17 days (range, 6-100 days) from onset of symptoms. The median lung weight was 1220 g (range, 960-1760 g); consolidations were found in 5 patients (62.5%) and gross thromboemboli were noted in 1 patient (12.5%). Histologically, all patients had acute bronchopneumonia; 6 patients (75%) also had diffuse alveolar damage. Two patients (25%) had aspiration pneumonia in addition. Thromboemboli, usually scattered and rare, were identified in 5 patients (62.5%) in small vessels and in 2 of these patients also in pulmonary arteries. Four patients (50%) had perivascular chronic inflammation. Postmortem bacterial lung cultures were positive in 4 patients (50%). Imaging studies (available in 4 patients) were typical (n = 2, 50%), indeterminate (n = 1, 25%), or negative (n = 1, 25%) for COVID-19 infection. CONCLUSIONS.­: Our study shows that patients infected with COVID-19 not only have diffuse alveolar damage but also commonly have acute bronchopneumonia and aspiration pneumonia. These findings are important for management of these patients.

COVID-19/pathology , Lung/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Bronchopneumonia/pathology , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/mortality , Fatal Outcome , Female , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Male , Minnesota/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Aspiration/pathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Embolism/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Cardiovasc Pathol ; 49: 107263, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-650406


Since its recognition in December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has rapidly spread globally causing a pandemic that represents the greatest medical challenge in decades. The aim of the study was to evaluate the spectrum of cardiopulmonary pathology of COVID-19 based on (non-minimal invasive) autopsies performed on 14 COVID-19 decedents. Bilateral diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) was found in all patients. Superimposed acute bronchopneumonia was present in 11 of 14 (78.6%) patients and was considered the major cause of death in 2 patients. A key finding was the presence of thrombotic/thromboembolic vascular occlusions. We classified 5 types of pulmonary thrombi: 1. capillary microthrombi (11/14, 78.6%); 2. partially organized thrombi in mid-sized pulmonary arteries with complete vessel occlusion; 3. non-organized thrombi in mid-sized pulmonary arteries that did not completely fill out the vessel lumen and probably represented thromboemboli rather than thrombosis; 4. bone marrow emboli (1/14, 7.1%); and 5. septic pulmonary thromboemboli (1/14, 7.1%). Pulmonary thrombi in mid-sized arteries were noted in 5 of 14 (35.7%) patients, causing pulmonary infarction and/or pulmonary hemorrhage. All patients had evidence of chronic cardiac disease, including myocardial hypertrophy (13/14, 92.9%), mild to marked coronary artery atherosclerosis (14/14, 100%) and focal myocardial fibrosis (3/14, 21.4%). Acute myocardial infarction was found as concurrent cause of death in 3 (21.4%) patients, and significant cardiac hypertrophy (heart weight 750 g) was present in 1 (7.1%) patient with ATTR-positive cardiac amyloidosis. The autopsy findings confirm that COVID-19 is a systemic disease, with major involvement of the lungs, that increases the risk of cardiac and vascular complications including acute myocardial injury and thrombotic/thromboembolic events. Secondary acute bronchopneumonia is a common complication in patients with COVID-19 and may be the major cause of death.

Bronchopneumonia/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pulmonary Artery/pathology , Thrombosis/pathology , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , Betacoronavirus , Bronchopneumonia/virology , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pulmonary Embolism/pathology , Pulmonary Embolism/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/virology