Penney GC, Thomson M, Norman J, McKenzie H, Vale L, Smith R, Imrie M
To determine lower genital tract carriage rates of C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae and bacterial vaginosis among women seeking termination of pregnancy. To compare two clinical management strategies for minimising the risks of infective morbidity after induced abortion.
Prevalence of infections was assessed by screening women undergoing abortion. Clinical management strategies were compared by a randomised trial.
The gynaecology departments of four hospitals in Scotland.
1672 women undergoing induced abortion.
Women randomised to prophylaxis received metronidazole 1 g rectally before abortion plus doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for seven days. Women randomised to screen-and-treat received appropriate antibiotics only if screening proved positive for one or more infection.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Prevalences of infections; morbidity in the eight weeks following abortion as assessed by reported symptoms, general practitioner consultation and prescription rates and hospital re-attendances; costs to the NHS of alternative managements.
Prevalence rates: C. trachomatis 5.6%; N gonorrhoeae 0.19%; bacterial vaginosis 17.5%. Overall, women allocated to receive prophylaxis had lower rates of measures of short term infective morbidity than those allocated to screen-and-treat. These differences only reached statistical significance for women who were reported negative on screening. The direct costs to the NHS of prophylaxis and screen-and-treat were calculated to be 8.17 and 18.34 per woman, respectively.
Prevalences of lower genital tract infections which have been implicated in increased rates of infective morbidity after abortion are similar to those reported elsewhere. Universal antibiotic prophylaxis is at least as effective as a policy of screen-and-treat in minimising the risk of short term infective morbidity and is far more cost efficient.