guidelines for placental examination

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In a message dated 2/16/00 12:22:42 PM, Joyce Judge at Saints Memorial 
Medical Center writes:

<< Where can I find the guidelines for placentas that need a Path exam? As it 
stands now all placentas are held in a refrigerator for a certain period of 
time, then thrown out if no exam is requested. What is the procedure at most 
hospitals? >>

The most useful reference for this remains the articles in the July 1991 
number of the Archives of Pathology. Your pathologist is likely to have a 
copy. The list is fairly lengthy, and is best included in a special form to 
be filled out by your obstetrical service when examination is needed.

Placentas are like any other surgical specimen, though, the attending 
physician must initiate the request for examination, unless the hospital has 
made other arrangements (which I advocate but have never seen!)

It is customary to hold placentas, either in formalin or unfixed in the 
refrigerator, for a week before discarding them. The usual guidelines are 
supposed to result in pathology examination of about 15% of placentas, though 
in my experience the percentage is higher, around 30%.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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