Items in AFP with MESH term: Abortion, Spontaneous
Conflict with a Consultant - Curbside Consultation
Letting Go - Close-ups
Management of Spontaneous Abortion - Article
ABSTRACT: Spontaneous abortion, which is the loss of a pregnancy without outside intervention before 20 weeks' gestation, affects up to 20 percent of recognized pregnancies. Spontaneous abortion can be subdivided into threatened abortion, inevitable abortion, incomplete abortion, missed abortion, septic abortion, complete abortion, and recurrent spontaneous abortion. Ultrasonography is helpful in the diagnosis of spontaneous abortion, but other testing may be needed if an ectopic pregnancy cannot be ruled out. Chromosomal abnormalities are causative in approximately 50 percent of spontaneous abortions; multiple other factors also may play a role. Traditional treatment consisting of surgical evacuation of the uterus remains the treatment of choice in unstable patients. Recent studies suggest that expectant or medical management is appropriate in selected patients. Patients with a completed spontaneous abortion rarely require medical or surgical intervention. For women with incomplete spontaneous abortion, expectant management for up to two weeks usually is successful, and medical therapy provides little additional benefit. When patients are allowed to choose between treatment options, a large percentage will choose expectant management. Expectant management of missed spontaneous abortion has variable success rates, but medical therapy with intravaginal misoprostol has an 80 percent success rate. Physicians should be aware of psychologic issues that patients and their partners face after completing a spontaneous abortion. Women are at increased risk for significant depression and anxiety for up to one year after spontaneous abortion. Counseling to address feelings of guilt, the grief process, and how to cope with friends and family should be provided.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Loss - Article
ABSTRACT: Second trimester pregnancy loss is uncommon, but it should be regarded as an important event in a woman's obstetric history. Fetal abnormalities, including chromosomal problems, and maternal anatomic factors, immunologic factors, infection, and thrombophilia should be considered; however, a cause-and-effect relationship may be difficult to establish. A thorough history and physical examination should include inquiries about previous pregnancy loss. Laboratory tests may identify treatable etiologies. Although there is limited evidence that specific interventions improve outcomes, management of contributing maternal factors (e.g., smoking, substance abuse) is essential. Preventive measures, including vaccination and folic acid supplementation, are recommended regardless of risk. Management of associated chromosomal factors requires consultation with a genetic counselor or obstetrician. The family physician can play an important role in helping the patient and her family cope with the emotional aspects of pregnancy loss.
First Trimester Bleeding - Article
ABSTRACT: Vaginal bleeding in the first trimester occurs in about one fourth of pregnancies. About one half of those who bleed will miscarry. Guarded reassurance and watchful waiting are appropriate if fetal heart sounds are detected, if the patient is medically stable, and if there is no adnexal mass or clinical sign of intraperitoneal bleeding. Discriminatory criteria using transvaginal ultrasonography and beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin testing aid in distinguishing among the many conditions of first trimester bleeding. Possible causes of bleeding include subchorionic hemorrhage, embryonic demise, anembryonic pregnancy, incomplete abortion, ectopic pregnancy, and gestational trophoblastic disease. When beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin reaches levels of 1,500 to 2,000 mIU per mL (1,500 to 2,000 IU per L), a normal pregnancy should exhibit a gestational sac by transvaginal ultrasonography. When the gestational sac is greater than 10 mm in diameter, a yolk sac must be present. A live embryo must exhibit cardiac activity when the crown-rump length is greater than 5 mm. In a normal pregnancy, beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin levels increase by 80 percent every 48 hours. The absence of any normal discriminatory findings is consistent with early pregnancy failure, but does not distinguish between ectopic pregnancy and failed intrauterine pregnancy. The presence of an adnexal mass or free pelvic fluid represents ectopic pregnancy until proven otherwise. Medical management with misoprostol is highly effective for early intrauterine pregnancy failure with the exception of gestational trophoblastic disease, which must be surgically evacuated. Expectant treatment is effective for many patients with incomplete abortion. Medical management with methotrexate is highly effective for properly selected patients with ectopic pregnancy. Follow-up after early pregnancy loss should include attention to future pregnancy planning, contraception, and psychological aspects of care.
Expectant Management vs. Surgical Treatment for Miscarriage - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: The management of early pregnancy loss used to be based largely in the hospital setting, but it has shifted to the outpatient setting, allowing women to remain under the care of their family physician throughout the miscarriage process. Up to 15 percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and as many as 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester, with chromosomal abnormalities as the leading cause. In general, no interventions have been proven to prevent miscarriage; occasionally women can modify their risk factors or receive treatment for relevant medical conditions. Unless products of conception are seen, the diagnosis of miscarriage is made with ultrasonography and, when ultrasonography is not available or is nondiagnostic, with measurement of beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin levels. Management options for early pregnancy loss include expectant management, medical management with misoprostol, and uterine aspiration. Expectant management is highly effective for the treatment of incomplete abortion, whereas misoprostol and uterine aspiration are more effective for the management of anembryonic gestation and embryonic demise. Misoprostol in a dose of 800 mcg administered vaginally is effective and well-tolerated. Compared with dilation and curettage in the operating room, uterine aspiration is the preferred procedure for early pregnancy loss; aspiration is equally safe, quicker to perform, more cost-effective, and amenable to use in the primary care setting. All management options are equally safe; thus, patient preference should guide treatment choice.