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Serial Multilevel Urine Pregnancy Testing to Assess Medical Abortion Outcome: A Meta-analysis

Objectives
To summarize data on the accuracy of a strategy designed to exclude ongoing pregnancy after medical abortion treatment by observing a decline in urine human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) concentration as estimated by multilevel urine pregnancy tests (MLPTs) performed before and after treatment.

Study Design
We collated original data from seven studies performed by our organization that evaluated the accuracy of the MLPT strategy for assessment of outcome of medical abortion. Our first analysis included data from the five studies in which each participant was evaluated both with the MLPT strategy and with ultrasound or other clinical assessment. Our second analysis combined data from two randomized trials that compared the MLPT strategy to assessment by ultrasound. Both analyses included only participants treated at≤63 days of gestation.

Results
In the first analysis, 1482 of 1599 participants (93%) had a decline in hCG concentration after treatment. Twenty-one (1.3%) had an ongoing pregnancy, none of whom had a decline (predictive value 100%, 95% CI 93.3%, 100%). The remaining 96 women (6.0%) had no decline without an ongoing pregnancy. The second analysis, which included 3762 participants with follow-up, found no significant difference in the rates of ongoing pregnancy ascertained in the randomized groups (RR 0.88; 95% CI 0.50, 1.54). Nearly all of the post-treatment MLPTs in the seven studies (3484/3535; 99%) were performed by the participants themselves.

Conclusions
Serial multilevel urine pregnancy testing is a highly reliable and efficient strategy for excluding ongoing pregnancy after medical abortion at≤63 days of gestation.

Implications Statement.
Serial urine testing using MLPTs can obviate the need for routine ultrasound or examination after medical abortion treatment and can allow most women to avoid an in-person follow-up visit to the abortion facility.

Contraception. 2016 Dec 29. [Epub ahead of print].

  • Topic: Medical Abortion
  • Type: Staff Publication
  • Author: Raymond, E.G., Shochet, T., Blum, J., Sheldon, W.R., Platais, I., Bracken, H., Dabash, R., Weaver, M.A., Ngoc, N.T., Blumenthal, P.D., Winikoff, B.
  • Published: December 2016