Ontology-Based Search Procedure to Identify Tissue Samples in an Autopsy Archive: A Pilot Study
This study aimed to obtain a detailed record of all autopsy specimens analyzed in the Pathology Department of the Emergency Clinical Hospital for Children, Cluj-Napoca from 1974 to 2018, by using an ontology-based search procedure (OSP) intended to identify the paraffin-embedded stored specimens in pathology reports. Two thousand nine hundred and fifty-six autopsy reports were analyzed using a list of histology terms and expressions commonly found in the microscopic descriptions of the autopsy reports, in Romanian. One pathologist was asked to evaluate the microscopic descriptive part of the autopsy reports for 300 cases and to classify the identified histology specimens according to the ICD-topography codes. The results were then compared with the OSP results. The validation assay returned a 97.32% sensitivity and a 99.48% specificity of the applied ontology-based search procedure when taking as a reference the assessment performed by a pathologist. The most common specimens identified were in the categories of the lower respiratory system (lung, trachea), liver, biliary tract, pancreas and urinary system. The proposed ontology can link valuable information to a highly reliable pathology-based autopsy registry allowing researchers to gain access to specimens stored in the pathology archives, and to facilitate disease registration, data extraction and reporting. This procedure represents a good starting point for developing suitable solutions to be implemented in registries, data banks and for the development of ontology-based registration tools.