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The role of histopathology in forensic practice: an overview.

The role of forensic histopathology in routine practice is to establish the cause of death in particular cases. This is achieved on the basis of microscopic analysis of representative cell and tissue samples taken from the major internal organs and from abnormal findings made at autopsy. A prerequisite of this is adherence to the quality standards set out for conventional histological/cytological staining and enzyme histochemical and immunohistochemical methods. The interpretation of histological findings is performed by taking into account macroscopic autopsy findings and information on previous history. Histological analysis may prompt postmortem biochemical and chemical-toxicological investigations. The results of histological analysis need to be classified by experts in the context of the available information and the need to withstand the scrutiny of other experts.

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