UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Brain post-mortem examinations

Information about requesting post-mortem examinations on formalin fixed brain and high-risk post mortem examinations

High-risk post-mortem examinations on brains (prion disease, or Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease)

We have the facilities and expertise to carry out post-mortems on patients who are at risk of prion disease (Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease) or where a clinical suspicion of prion disease has been raised. A brain-only post-mortem examination to confirm or exclude prion disease costs £1700. In addition, transfer to our mortuary will have to be arranged by the referring coroner or hospital. Our mortuary can advise on options for transfers

What are our turnaround times to confirm or exclude prion disease?

Following the post-mortem examination of the brain, we usually are able to confirm or exclude prion disease within 7-10 days.

If prion disease is confirmed, we will state in our report that a full post-mortem examination is not recommended due to infection risk. If prion disease is excluded, a full post-mortem examination can continue at the local mortuary. We do not offer full body post mortem examinations after confirming or excluding prion disease.

All other brain referrals including coroner's examinations

Referred formalin fixed brains (high risk or unknown risk) cost £650 to process and diagnose. We usually achieve a diagnosis within 2-4 weeks. If we anticipate an unusualy complex cases requiring significant additional workup we may increase the fee on an individual basis, and this will be discussed upfront.

Obtaining consent to donate the brain (optional):

We are a major teaching hospital and we encourage donation of the brain for education, and medical research. We are always grateful for coroner’s officers to discuss this with the next of kin. If it is felt appropriate, we can also talk to relatives ourselves.

Whom to contact:

In the first instance, contact our office (uclh.office.neuropathology@nhs.net). We will then confirm our availability and we will contact our local mortuary at UCLH to confirm their availability. Brain referrals (fixed) do not require mortuary availability.

Additional information to download

This document explains the post-mortem procedure in simple terms and should be given to relatives to read prior completing the consent form.

must be completed together with the relatives according to the instructions in the document that will be made available separately upon request, following initial correspondence with the coroner’s office or referring hospital.