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Role of ultrasound in elective abortions

Role of ultrasound in elective abortions

Journal de Gynecologie, Obstetrique et Biologie de la Reproduction 45(10): 1477-1489

Ultrasound plays a fundamental role in the management of elective abortions. Although it can improve the quality of post-abortion care, it must not be an obstacle to abortion access. We thus studied the role of ultrasound in pregnancy dating and possible alternatives and analyzed the literature to determine the role of ultrasound in post-abortion follow-up. During an ultrasound scan, the date of conception is estimated by measurement of the crown-rump length (CRL), defined by Robinson, or of the biparietal diameter (BPD), as defined by the French Center for Fetal Ultrasound (CFEF) after 11 weeks of gestation (Robinson and CFEF curves) (grade B). Updated curves have been developed in the INTERGROWTH study. In the context of abortion, the literature recommends the application of a safety margin of 5 days, especially when the CRL and/or BPD measurement indicates a term close to 14 weeks (that is equal or below 80 and 27mm, respectively) (best practice agreement). Accordingly, with the ultrasound measurement reliable to±5 days when its performance meets the relevant criteria, an abortion can take place when the CRL measurement is less than 90mm or the BPD less than 30mm (INTERGROWTH curves) (best practice agreement). While a dating ultrasound should be encouraged, its absence is not an obstacle to scheduling an abortion for women who report that they know the date of their last menstrual period and/or of the at-risk sexual relations and for whom a clinical examination by a healthcare professional is possible (best practice agreement). In cases of intrauterine pregnancy of uncertain viability or of a pregnancy of unknown location, without any particular symptoms, the patient must be able to have a transvaginal ultrasound to increase the precision of the diagnosis (grade B). Various reviews of the literature on post-abortion follow-up indicate that the routine use of ultrasound during instrumental abortions should be avoided (best practice agreement). If it becomes clear immediately after the procedure that the endometrial thickness exceeds 8mm, immediate reaspiration is necessary. Ultrasound examination of the endometrium several days after an instrumental elective abortion does not appear to be relevant (grade B). An analysis of the literature similarly shows that routine ultrasound scans after medical abortions should be avoided. If a transvaginal ultrasound is performed after a medical abortion, it should take place at least two weeks afterwards (best practice agreement). The only aim of an ultrasound examination during follow-up should be to determine whether a gestational sac is present (best practice agreement). Finally, if an ultrasound is performed at any point during pre- or post-abortion care, a report should be drafted, specifying any potential gynecologic abnormalities found, but its absence must not delay the scheduling of the abortion (best practice agreement).

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Accession: 058791721

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27814980

DOI: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2016.09.032

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