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Low rate of infection after medical abortion.

The frequency of infection after medical abortion is not well documented. This systematic review of the literature looks at the data from 65 studies involving 46,421 women using one of five medical abortion regimens. The overall frequency of diagnosed and/or treated infection was just under 1%, which is lower than that reported for either surgical abortion procedures or childbirth. Infections were normally clinically diagnosed without confirmatory tests. The most common types of infection reported were endometritis (49%, 210/429) and undefined genital tract infection (37%, 159/429). There was a single report of a sepsis-related death and only four cases required hospitalisation. The frequency of infection was highest among those who received mifepristone followed by gemeprost (1.6%) but much lower amongst those treated with mifepristone and oral misoprostol (0.2%). Data from UK studies, which accounted for over a quarter of the subjects, suggested a higher overall rate of infection of 2.5%. This may be a true difference or may reflect a different level of diagnosis and preventative treatment of presumptive infections. These results confirm that, with respect to the risk infection, medical abortion is a sale and effective option, and that there is little difference in frequency of infection among the common regimens. (1)

1. Shannon C, Brothers LP, Philip NM, et al. Infection after medical abortion: a review of the literature. Contraception 2004;70:183-90.
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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Research
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Date:May 1, 2005
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