12/02/2011 05:17 EST | Updated 02/01/2012 05:12 EST

Edmonton Biopsies Review To Cover 1,600 Cases

Alberta health officials have ordered a review of nearly 1,600 tests interpreted by one pathologist after 29 prostate biopsies were found to have "significant discrepancies."

The samples, taken between July and September, were among 159 prostate biopsy slides interpreted by a pathologist working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.

Retesting was done after urologists raised concerns about accuracy. Alberta Health Services has retested 126 of them so far. Discrepancies significant enough to change a patient's diagnosis or treatment were discovered in 29 of the cases.

"I want to apologize for any stress or concern this has caused patients," said Dr. Chris Eagle, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services. "[The review] is an urgent high priority for AHS."

Retesting of the 159 questionable biopsies will be completed by next week. Eagle said patients could be fast-tracked through the system if it's found that they need different treatment.

The pathologist is no longer working for Alberta Health Services. The College of Physicians and Surgeons has been alerted.

Alberta Health Services is not releasing his name.

"He's a senior physician," Eagle said. "A person who has had a career in Alberta and is competent."

Alberta Health Services will review an additional 1,568 specimens interpreted by the same pathologist over that time frame.