Jill Durocher

Self-Assessment of Medical Abortion Outcome using Symptoms and Home Pregnancy Testing

April 1st, 2018
Medical Abortion
Raymond, E.G., Tan, Y.L., Grant, M., Benavides, E., Reis, M., Sacks, D. N., Hannum, C., Frapp, S., Weaver, M. A.

Contraception; April 1,2018; Vol. 97(4):324-328; doi:

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate compliance with a strategy to enable medical abortion patients to assess treatment outcome on their own and decide whether to seek clinical follow-up.

Study design: We enrolled women undergoing medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol at three clinics in the United States. Each participant was instructed to perform a multilevel pregnancy test (MLPT) 7 days after mifepristone ingestion and to contact the clinic immediately if the test indicated a possible ongoing pregnancy or if specified symptoms occurred. A telephone call was scheduled 14 days after mifepristone ingestion to evaluate participants who had not contacted the clinic earlier.

Results: Of the 343 enrolled participants, 90 (26%) did not provide sufficient follow-up information for analysis of compliance with instructions. Of the 253 (74%) who did, 218 (86%) implemented the self-assessment strategy as instructed, 20 (7.9%) failed to report a non-reassuring MLPT result, 4 (1.6%) failed to promptly report symptoms that the study clinician subsequently judged to require evaluation, and 11 (4.3%) did not perform the MLPT. We ascertained abortion outcomes for 239 (70%) of the enrolled women, of whom 3 were diagnosed with ongoing pregnancies. One other participant was hospitalized for bleeding. All 4 women had implemented the strategy correctly. Of the 219 enrolled participants (64%) who provided opinions, 170 (78%) indicated that most could use the MLPT to decide whether they're "OK" after an abortion. We did not ascertain opinions from 124 enrolled participants (36%).

Conclusions: At least two thirds of enrolled participants correctly implemented a strategy using symptom evaluation and a MLPT to assess their own medical abortion outcomes. No ongoing pregnancies occurred in women documented not to have implemented the strategy as intended. Perceived feasibility of the self-assessment approach was high. Implications Statement The common practice of scheduling a clinical contact after every medical abortion may not be necessary to ensure safety; enabling patients to determine for themselves whether or not a contact is needed can be a reasonable approach.