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Keywords:

  • induced abortion;
  • complication;
  • follow-up study;
  • register linkage

Background.  Performing an induced abortion is a rather simple medical procedure which is frequently done and side-effects will have public health implications unless they are very rare. We estimated the incidence of side-effects detected during the stay at the hospital and 2 weeks after the discharge. We only include side-effects reported by clinics or hospitals.

Methods.  Altogether 56 117 induced abortions performed by public hospitals in Denmark from 1980 to 1994 were analyzed in this study. The study combined results from the mandatory reporting of side-effects to the National Induced Abortion Registry and all diagnoses reported to the Hospital Discharge Registry.

Results.  Side-effects in the form of bleeding, infections or re-evacuation were recorded for about 5%. We found more side-effects in teenage women and for abortions performed late in pregnancy. We found nothing to indicate that the frequency of side-effects following an abortion changed over time.

Conclusions.  About 5% have side-effects registered by hospitals following an induced abortion. The long-term consequences of this are not known.