Autopsy Specimen Collection Recommendations for Pathologic Evaluation of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death with Pathologic or Clinical Suspicion of Infection

Sudden unexplained infant deaths (SUID) are defined as the death of an infant less than one year old, in which the investigation, autopsy, medical history review, and appropriate laboratory testing fail to identify a specific cause of death. Some of these cases have gross or histopathologic features suggestive of an infectious process and may be submitted for evaluation by the Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch. Performance of specific immunohistochemical, molecular, or other assays will be determined using clinical and epidemiologic information provided by the submitter and the histopathologic features identified in the submitted tissue specimens.

Collection of Tissue Specimens

Tissues should be collected in accordance with the CDC Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Training materials and the National Association of Medical Examiners White Paper, “A functional approach to sudden unexplained infant deaths.” In cases where there is gross or microscopic evidence suggestive of an infection present, or when clinical history raises the suspicion of infection, tissue from the organ(s) demonstrating pathology should be sampled heavily (i.e., multiple representative blocks collected) and submitted for evaluation. Major organs without apparent histopathologic changes may be submitted representatively.