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Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Jun;119(6):1157-63. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31824e9f2f.

Adherence to conservative management recommendations for abnormal pap test results in adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



To investigate whether the 2006 American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology guidelines for conservative management of minimally abnormal Pap test results (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, human papillomavirus-positive, and low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions) and moderate dysplasia (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2) in adolescents 1) resulted in fewer colposcopies and loop electrosurgical excision procedures (LEEPs) in adolescents or 2) resulted in unintended treatment changes in older age groups.


We analyzed data from 1,806 women aged 18 years and older attending one of six community health centers who were diagnosed with abnormal Pap test results between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2008. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine treatment differences in women with minimally abnormal Pap test results before and after guideline changes. Variables included date of abnormality, site of care, race or ethnicity, language, and insurance type. We used Fisher exact tests to examine rates of LEEP in patients with moderate dysplasia before and after guideline publication.


Among 206 women aged 18-20 years, rates of colposcopy after a minimally abnormal Pap test result decreased from 78% (n=102) to 45% (n=34) after guideline changes (P<.001). Colposcopy among women over age 21 (n=1,542) remained unchanged (greater than 90%). Multivariable logistic regression indicated that both date of abnormality and site of care were associated with colposcopy referral. After guideline changes, management of moderate dysplasia with LEEP in women aged 18-23 decreased from 55% to 18% (P=.04); rates remained stable in women ages 24 and older (70% compared with 74%; P=.72).


Health care providers quickly adopted new conservative management guidelines for low-income, minority adolescents, which may reduce preterm deliveries in these high-risk populations.



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