Does speculum examination have a role in assessing bleeding in early pregnancy?

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Abstract

Objectives:

To assess to what extent a speculum examination after a bimanual examination influences the accuracy of diagnosis and subsequent management of women with bleeding in early pregnancy in an accident and emergency (A&E) department.

Method:

A prospective study over a five month period included women presenting to A&E with vaginal bleeding at <20/40. Exclusion criteria were haemodynamic instability or known cervical carcinoma. The clinician recorded a diagnosis and management plan on a standard questionnaire after bimanual examination and after subsequent speculum examination.

Results:

236 women were included in the study. Of these, a total of three (1.3%) had a change of management plan and 10 (4.2%) patients had a change of diagnosis after speculum examination.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that speculum examination contributes to a minority of management decisions. The need for speculum examination should be assessed on a case by case basis depending on whether the findings on bimanual are conclusive.

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