Mid-trimester abortion induced by intravaginal administration of prostaglandin E2 suppositories.
Mid-trimester abortion was successfully induced in 70 of 71 patients by administration of vaginal PGE2 suppositories. The one patient who failed to abort with this method was pregnant in the blind horn of a duplex uterus. The mean abortion time for the successful inductions was 11.88 hours. Multiparous patients aborted somewhat faster than nulliparous patients, but the difference was not significant. Among the 70 successful inductions 42 patients aborted in 12 hours or less and only one patient had an abortion time of more than 24 hours. The drug appeared effective throughout the stages of gestation included in this series--from 8 to 27 weeks. Eight patients were monitored throughout the abortion procedure and uterine activity was calculated and analyzed. The development of uterine activity was gradual without the sudden rise in frequency of contractions and intrauterine baseline tonus that characterized prostaglandin administered by other methods. The most frequently encountered side effect of vaginal PGE2 suppositories was a temperature elevation, which returned to normal within a few hours of the last dose of the drug. Gastrointestinal disturbances--vomiting and diarrhea--were also common, despite a low initial dose of PGE2 and premedication with antiemetic and antidiarrheal agents. These side effects were in general well tolerated by the patients and never required termination of therapy. The cardiovascular effects of PGE2 in this series could be considered minimal. In a single patient surgical intervention was required to remove the placenta. In seven patients the placenta was removed by sponge forceps and in five patients the placenta was removed manually. There was an estimated blood loss exceeding 250 ml. in 10 patients, but transfusion was not required. Although white blood cell count rose significantly during the abortion period there were no significant changes in hematocrit or platelet count. Mid-trimester abortion with intravaginal administration of PGE2 suppositories appears to offer a valid alternative to the presently available techniques, with a rapid abortion time, high success rate, and low incidence of complications.
Lauersen, NH; Secher, NJ; Wilson, KH
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