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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2005 Oct;91(1):21-6.

Medical vs. surgical evacuation of first-trimester spontaneous abortion.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and MRC/UKZN Pregnancy Hypertension Research Unit, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.



To determine whether management of incomplete first-trimester abortion with vaginal misoprostol in an under-resourced setting is a viable treatment option.


A total of 94 women were randomized to 600 microg of misoprostol intravaginally or to surgical curettage. The women receiving misoprostol were administered a second dose if the abortion was incomplete; and if still not complete after a week, evacuation of retained products of conception was performed. All women had a follow-up visit 2 weeks following complete abortion.


The overall success rate of medical management was 91.5%, with 15 of 47 successful cases after 1 dose of misoprostol; 8.5% of the 47 women required evacuation of retained products of conception after 1 week because of treatment failure. The success rate in the surgical arm was 100%. Patients in the medical arm had a longer duration of bleeding and a greater need for analgesia. There were no differences in hemoglobin levels, white blood cell count, adverse effects, pain score, and satisfaction with treatment at the follow-up visit. However, more women who received the medical treatment would recommend it or choose it in the future.


Medical management using 600 microg of misoprostol in 2 doses is effective to treat incomplete first-trimester abortions in an under-resourced setting when there is no evidence of uterine sepsis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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