Management of intrauterine fetal death with prostaglandin E2 vaginal suppositories.
The recent Food and Drug Administration's approval of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) vaginal suppositories provides the clinician with a technique for the immediate management of missed abortion and intrauterine fetal death (IUFD). During a 4-year period at our institution, 78 of 80 patients with gestations ranging from 13 to 42 weeks had pregnancy successfully terminated with PGE2 suppositories with a dose schedule of 20 mg every 2 hours. The mean interval from induction to delivery of the fetus was 8.9 hours. Fifty percent of the patients spontaneously expelled the placenta; active intervention to remove the placenta within 2 hours of delivery of the fetus is recommended to avoid excessive vaginal bleeding. The most frequently encountered side effect was a temperature elevation, which was managed by less frequent administration of the prostaglandin. Gastrointestinal side effects were minimized by premedication with antidiarrheal and antiemetic agents, which also were administered during the induction period when indicated by the patient's symptoms. A concomitant oxytocin infusion was utilized in 38 patients. In gestations of less than 24 weeks the oxytocin was administered via intravenous drip at a rate of 10 U/hour. In the case of a patient with IUFD and a gestation of 24 weeks or more, oxytocin should be administered only with a constant-rate infusion pump starting at a dose schedule of 1 mU/minute with careful titration of the dose against the monitored uterine activity. The availability of the vaginal PGE2 suppositories for missed abortion and IUFD makes it important for the clinician to fully acquaint himself with the drug, its administration, effects, and side effects.
Lauersen, NH; Cederqvist, LL; Wilson, KH
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