Outcomes of suction curettage and mifepristone abortion in the United States: A prospective comparison study

Jeffrey T. Jensen, Susan J. Astley, Elizabeth Morgan, Mark D. Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A prospective, nonconcurrent cohort analysis of 178 mifepristone/misoprostol and 199 suction curettage abortion subjects, ages ≥ 18 years, with intrauterine pregnancies ≤ 63 days estimated gestational age, was conducted to compare the outcomes of suction curettage abortion to those of medical abortion. The medical abortion subjects received 600 mg of mifeprisone orally, followed by 400 μg of oral misoprostol 2 days later. Surgical abortion subjects underwent electronic vacuum aspiration. All subjects were followed for 2 weeks or until the absence of clinical bleeding. Outcome measures included a successful abortion (complete abortion without a surgical intervention), duration of bleeding, and morbidity. Overall, 18.3% medical and 4. 7% surgical patients failed their primary procedure and received an unanticipated suction curettage (RR 3.93;95% CI 1.87, 8.29). Four mifepristone subjects required curettage for acute bleeding, nine to manage ongoing pregnancy, and five for incomplete abortion. Fourteen mifepristone and eight surgical subjects required curettage for persistent bleeding. The median time delay for therapeutic curettage was significantly longer in the medical abortion group (35 versus 8 days; Mann-Whitney U = 17.0, p = 0.008). Medical subjects experienced significantly longer bleeding (mean difference = 9.6 days, 95% CI 6.8, 12.4). No significant change in hemoglobin occurred in either group. Mifepristone patients reported significantly greater pain (77.1% vs 10.5%; RR 7.4, 95% CI 4.7, 11.5), and nausea or vomiting (68.6% vs 0.6%; RR 117.9, 95% CI 16.7, 834.7). Women receiving mifepristone/misoprostol are more likely to require an unplanned surgical intervention than women who undergo suction curettage. They experience more discomfort with their procedure and in the follow-up interval, bleed for a longer period, and remain at risk for surgical completion curettage for several weeks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999


  • Abortion
  • Comparison
  • Mifepristone
  • Misoprostol
  • Suction curettage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Outcomes of suction curettage and mifepristone abortion in the United States: A prospective comparison study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this