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Acad Emerg Med. 2002 Aug;9(8):781-5.

Cervical infections in emergency department patients with vaginal bleeding.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Truman Medical Center, UMKC School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO, USA.


To the best of the authors' knowledge, no previous study has compared the prevalences of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) or Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) cervical infection among pregnant and non-pregnant patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with vaginal bleeding.


To determine the prevalence of these infections in a simultaneously assembled cohort, and to determine whether pregnancy is associated with altered rates of CT or NG cervical infection among patients with vaginal bleeding.


This was a prospective, seven-month, cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of patients (aged > or = 15 years) who presented to an urban, teaching ED with the chief complaint of vaginal bleeding. A urine pregnancy test was administered to each patient. Cervical swab specimens were analyzed for CT or NG via polymerase chain reaction technology (DNA probe). The hospital laboratory's baseline 18% rate of positive tests was used for sample size planning. Chisquare analysis and Fisher's exact test, where appropriate, were used to compare pregnant and non-pregnant patient groups.


Cervical infection rates did not differ between pregnant and non-pregnant patients. Testing for CT showed that 13 of 114 (11%) of the pregnant patients were positive, while 11 of 147 (8%) non-pregnant patients tested positive (chi(2) = 0.759, p = 0.384). Testing for NG revealed that seven of 114 (6%) pregnant patients tested positive, while 16 of 147 (11%) non-pregnant patients tested positive (chi(2) = 1.256, p = 0.262). Combined testing showed that 18 of 114 (16%) of the pregnant patients and 25 of 147 (17%) of the non-pregnant patients harbored a cervical infection with one or both pathogens (chi(2) = 0.009, p = 0.925).


The prevalence of CT or NG cervical infection in pregnant patients presenting to the ED with vaginal bleeding is 16%. Pregnant and non-pregnant patients with vaginal bleeding are at similar risks for having CT or NG cervical infection. Cervical swab specimens should be obtained in all patients with vaginal bleeding.

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