Medical abortion or vacuum aspiration? Two year follow up of a patient preference trial


Correspondence: Mr S. A. Naji, Health Services Research Unit, Department of Public Health, Drew Kay Wing, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB9 2ZD, UK.


Objective To describe and compare health outcomes two years after medical abortion or vacuum aspiration in women recruited into a patient preference trial during 1990 to 1991.

Design Women recruited to the original, partially randomised study were contacted for assessment using a structured interview.

Setting Grampian region of Scotland, UK.

Participants One hundred and forty women who had participated in a partially randomised study of first trimester abortion two years previously.

Intervention Vacuum aspiration or medical abortion using mifepristone and gemeprost.

Main outcome measures Long-term general, reproductive and psychological health; acceptability of procedure; perceived value of choice of method of termination.

Results There were no significant differences between women who had undergone medical abortion or vacuum aspiration two years previously in general, reproductive or psychological health. Almost all women placed a high value on the provision of choice of method of termination. There was a significant difference in perception of long term procedure acceptability among women who had been randomised to a method of termination.

Conclusions Women should have the opportunity to choose the method of termination. This opportunity will result in high levels of acceptability, particularly at gestations under 50 days of amenorrhoea.