Objective: To compare the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of misoprostol and manual vacuum aspiration for the treatment of incomplete abortion in a hospital setting in Kampala, Uganda.
Methods: Three hundred seventeen women with clinically diagnosed incomplete first-trimester abortions were randomized to treatment with either manual vacuum aspiration or 600 mug misoprostol orally to complete their abortions. All women received antibiotics posttreatment and were followed up 1-2 weeks later.
Results: Regardless of treatment allocation, nearly all women in this study successfully completed their abortions with either oral misoprostol or manual vacuum aspiration (96.3% versus 91.5%, relative risk 1.05, 95% confidence interval 0.98-1.14). Complications were less frequent in those receiving misoprostol than those having manual vacuum aspiration (0.9% versus 9.8%, relative risk 0.1, 95% confidence interval 0.01-0.78). In the 6 hours after treatment, women using misoprostol reported heavier bleeding but lower levels of pain than those treated with manual vacuum aspiration. Rates of acceptability were similarly high among women in the 2 treatment groups, with 94.2% and 94.7% of women reporting that their treatment was satisfactory or very satisfactory in the misoprostol and manual vacuum aspiration groups, respectively.
Conclusion: For treatment of first-trimester uncomplicated incomplete abortion, both manual vacuum aspiration and 600 microg oral misoprostol are safe, effective, and acceptable treatments. Based on availability of each method and the wishes of individual women, either option may be presented to women for the treatment of incomplete abortion.
Level of evidence: I.