Objectivized diagnosis of acute pelvic inflammatory disease. Diagnostic and prognostic value of routine laparoscopy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1969 Dec 1;105(7):1088-98. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(69)90132-x.


PIP: At the University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, laparoscopy has been routinely used as a diagnostic aid in cases for acute pelvic inflammatory disease since 1960. No significant complications have been encountered. The material of the study comprises 905 cases covering an 8 year period, 1960-1967. The operation was always performed under general anesthesia. The laparoscope was inserted in the midline below the umbilicus and a cannula inserted 10 cm laterally to manipulate the pelvic organs. A previous clinical diagnosis was required. In 814 cases acute inflammatory disease was suspected on clinical grounds. In 532 of these cases (65%) acute salpingitis was visually confirmed. Observation through the instrument was seldom difficult or uncertain. In 98 cases (12%) laparoscopy revealed other pathologic conditions. In 184 cases (23%) no pathologic changes were found. In another 91 cases acute salpingitis was found unexpectedly at laparoscopy (or in some cases by exploratory laparotomy) undertaken on other provisional clinical diagnoses. Altogether 623 patients were visually diagnosed as having acute salpingitis. Acute appendicitis was found in 24 cases, ectopic pregnancy in 11 cases, pelvic endometriosis in 16 cases, and several other pelvic disorders occasionally. In the total series of 623 confirmed cases of acute salpingitis 223 (365) were of gonococcal origin. These were mostly in the younger, unmarried, and nulliparous patients. Previous curettage was responsible for most othe r cases. The authors conclude that the diagnosis of acute adnexal inflammation based on commonly accepted clinical criteria was found inaccurate to an unsatisfactory high degree as 12% proved to have other disorders, several of a serious nature. Also 23% had no inflammatory reaction of the tubes or other pelvic structures leaving 65% of cases correctly diagnosed on clinical grounds. The prognosis as to later tubal patency varied with the stage of development of the salpingitis. Later studies show that patency was more frequent in cases of salpingitis diagnosed and treated early before adnexal swelling or mass was diagnosed clinically. Gonococcal cases showed a lower subsequent bilateral occlusion than others. 5 of the salpingitis patients were later operated on for ectopic pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Salpingitis / diagnosis*
  • Salpingitis / microbiology
  • Salpingitis / therapy