Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in a Pediatric Emergency Department: Epidemiology and Treatment

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Most adolescent cases of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are diagnosed in the emergency department (ED). An important step to prevent PID-related morbidity among this high-risk population is to quantify prevalence and microbial patterns and identify testing and treatment gaps.


We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional study of all visits by adolescents to an urban children's ED with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, diagnosis of PID in 2012. We used standard descriptive statistics to quantify PID diagnoses, sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing, and treatment.


Pelvic inflammatory disease was diagnosed in more than 9% of women with a chief complaint of abdominal/pelvic pain. Most diagnosed cases underwent some STI testing, and 40% tested positive. Seventy percent of cases received antibiotics recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


There is a high prevalence of PID among adolescents in the pediatric ED. Rates of STI testing and appropriate treatment reveal gaps in diagnosis and management, representing a lost opportunity for identification and treatment of PID/STIs among high-risk adolescents.

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