Professor Neil Sebire receives grant to investigate the potential use of the minimally invasive autopsy

Professor Neil Sebire – who is Diagnostics and Imaging Theme lead at the Great Ormond Street BRC has been awarded an NIHR HTA grant on behalf of the Minimally Invasive Autopsy team at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The award provides £286,000 to investigate the parental- and societal-acceptability of standard and less invasive methods of examination after death.

Following the death of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or in childhood, parents can be left with many questions, which in many cases can only be answered through post-mortem or autopsy examination. Parents often don’t agree to an autopsy being carried out – primarily due to the invasiveness of the procedure – and currently there is no alternative available.

A post-mortem MRI along with endoscopic assisted tissue sampling could act as an alternative to the invasive autopsy procedure.

Using the grant money awarded to them, the researchers aim to identify the number and type of patients available for this novel approach and whether parents and families would feel it was more acceptable than the standard autopsy. The data obtained will be used to decide whether a larger study would be appropriate or whether there is sufficient evidence to offer this approach more widely.