Complication rates of dilation and evacuation and labor induction in second-trimester abortion for fetal indications: A retrospective cohort study

Laura Jacques, Megan Heinlein, Jessika Ralph, Amy Pan, Melodee Nugent, Kristina Kaljo, Rahmouna Farez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare complication rates of dilation and evacuation (D&E) to mifepristone and misoprostol labor induction for second trimester abortion for fetal indications. Study design: We performed a retrospective cohort study comparing complication rates with D&E and labor induction abortion for fetal indications at 14 weeks 0 days through 23 weeks and 6 days gestation between January 1, 2009, and August 31, 2017. We extracted demographic, procedural, and outcome data, focusing specifically on complications of maternal hemorrhage, infection, emergency department visit, hospital readmission, retained tissue requiring dilation and curettage (D&C), manual placental removal, or thromboembolism. We compared complication rates between the D&E and induction groups using univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: We included outcomes from 75 (48%) D&E and 81 (52%) labor induction abortions. We identified any complication in 1 (1%) and 7 (7%) of patients, respectively (p = 0.12). The only complication in the D&E group was hemorrhage with an estimated blood loss of 1000 mL not requiring transfusion. Labor induction complications included retained tissue requiring manual removal (n = 2) or D&C (n = 1) and hemorrhage (n = 2). Conclusion: There was no difference in complication rates between the D&E group and the labor induction group. Implications: This study compared outcomes between D&E and labor induction using mifepristone and misoprostol for second trimester abortion. Our complication rate for labor induction using mifepristone and misoprostol, and particularly our rate of retained placenta requiring D&C, was lower than what has been previously reported for second trimester labor induction termination using other methods. This study suggests there is a benefit for the routine use of mifepristone with misoprostol for second trimester labor induction. Additionally, the low rate of major complications in this study for both D&E and labor induction further validates the safety of both procedures for second trimester abortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Abortion
  • Complication
  • Dilation and evacuation
  • Induction termination
  • Mifepristone

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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