COVID-19 autopsy reports from the Ga-East Municipal and the 37 Military Hospitals in Accra, Ghana

  • Seth Attoh Pathology Division, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Roxana P. Segborwotso Ga-East Municipal Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Samuel K. Akoriyea Institutional Care Division, Ghana Health Service, Accra, Ghana
  • Gina Teddy Ghana Centre for Health Systems and Policy Research, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra, Ghana
  • Lawrence Edusei Department of Pathology, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Frederick Hobenu Pathology Division, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Kwasi Agyemang-Bediako Pathology Division, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Alfred Toppar Medical Division, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Raymond D. Fatchu Pathology Division, 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana
  • Patrick K. Akakpo Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Cape Coast and Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Cape Coast, Ghana
Keywords: COVID-19, Ghana, autopsy, thromboemboli, Diffuse Alveolar Damage

Abstract

Introduction: Since the declaration of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic on 11th March 2020, the number of deaths continue to increase worldwide. Reports on its pathologic manifestations have been published with very few from the Sub-Saharan African region. This article reports autopsies on COVID-19 patients from the Ga-East and the 37 Military Hospitals to provide pathological evidence for better understanding of COVID-19 in Ghana.
Methods: Under conditions required for carrying out autopsies on bodies infected with category three infectious agents, with few modifications, complete autopsies were performed on twenty patients with ante-mortem and/or postmortem RT -PCR confirmed positive COVID‑19 results, between April and June ,2020.
Results: There were equal proportion of males and females. Thirteen (65%) of the patients were 55years or older with the same percentage (65%) having Type II diabetes and/or hypertension. The most significant pathological feature found at autopsy was diffuse alveolar damage. Seventy per cent (14/20) had associated thromboemboli in the lungs, kidneys and the heart. Forty per cent (6/15) of the patients that had negative results for COVID-19 by the nasopharyngeal swab test before death had positive results during postmortem using bronchopulmonary specimen. At autopsy all patients were identified to have pre-existing medical conditions.
Conclusion: Diffuse alveolar damage was a key pathological feature of deaths caused by COVID-19 in all cases studied with hypertension and diabetes mellitus being major risk factors. Individuals without co-morbidities were less likely to die or suffer severe disease from SARS-CoV-2

Published
2020-12-31

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print ISSN: 0016-9560