Safety and effectiveness of medication and aspiration abortion before or during the sixth week of pregnancy: A retrospective multicenter study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To compare adverse outcomes of medication and aspiration abortion among those with intrauterine pregnancy <43 days gestation versus abortions performed at 43–48 days. Study design: We conducted a multicenter retrospective chart review study to review all medication and aspiration abortion of visualized pregnancy <49 days gestation at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (Oregon) and Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (California) in 2014–2015. We identified incident cases by billing codes and performed chart review for adverse outcomes (ED visits, incomplete abortion), need for further interventions, or complications (hemorrhage, infection, and uterine perforation), captured up to 90 days post-abortion. Results: The 3930 abortions during the study period at the two sites included 2914 medication abortions and 1016 aspiration abortions, with 1470 medication abortions and 469 aspiration abortions at <43 days gestation. Composite adverse outcomes did not vary by gestation, for either medication abortion (75/1470; 5.1% for <43 days versus 94/1444; 6.5% at 43–48 days, p = 0.10) or aspiration (12/469; 2.6% for <43 days versus 16/547; 2.9% at 43–48 days, p = 0.72). Fewer incomplete abortions (ongoing pregnancy, symptomatic retained tissue, or retained gestational sac) occurred in the earlier gestational group (3.1% for <43 days versus 4.3% at 43–48 days, p = 0.04). Composite adverse outcomes were higher after medication versus aspiration abortion (169/2914; 5.8% versus 28/1016; 2.7%, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Medication and aspiration abortion performed either before or during the sixth week of ultrasound-confirmed intrauterine pregnancy have low rates of composite adverse outcomes, including complications or incomplete abortion. However, unplanned interventions are more common after medication compared to aspiration abortions. Implications: Very early medication and aspiration abortion are similarly safe and effective before or during the sixth week of ultrasound-confirmed pregnancy, though subsequent interventions are more likely after medication abortion. Patients with early pregnancy can safely initiate abortion with follow-up to ensure complete abortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalContraception
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Abortion
  • Aspiration
  • Early abortion
  • Medication abortion
  • Surgical abortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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