Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Aug;187(2):321-5; discussion 325-6.

Early intrauterine pregnancy failure: a randomized trial of medical versus surgical treatment.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether medical treatment of early pregnancy failure represents a reasonable alternative to surgical therapy.


Patients who were diagnosed with pregnancy failure before 12 weeks of gestation were randomly assigned to receive either medical (intravaginal misoprostol) or surgical therapy (dilatation and curettage). In the medical arm of the study, 800 microg of misoprostol was placed within the posterior vaginal fornix. Patients subsequently were seen 24 and 48 hours after the initial dosing; intravaginal misoprostol was readministered only if ultrasound images revealed evidence of persistent pregnancy tissue. By 72 hours after initial study entry, if either a gestational sac or placental tissue was present, the medical treatment was considered a failure, and uterine curettage was performed. Statistical analysis was performed with the two-tailed unpaired t test, chi(2) analysis, Fisher exact test, and Mann-Whitney U test; a probability value of <.05 was considered statistically significant.


A total of 50 women were enrolled, with 2 patients in the surgical arm experiencing spontaneous pregnancy loss before their scheduled procedures. Twenty-five women received medical therapy; 25 women were randomized to surgical procedure. Fifteen patients in the medical group (60%; 95% CI, 0.41-0.79) had successful pregnancy termination and did not require curettage. There were no significant differences between the medical and surgical groups with respect to either posttreatment hematocrit level or the time needed to achieve negative human chorionic gonadotropin test results.


Intravaginal misoprostol is an effective agent for the treatment of early pregnancy failure. Medical treatment of early pregnancy failure represents a reasonable alternative to immediate surgical therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center