Gac Sanit. 2015 Mar 11. pii: S0213-9111(15)00023-0. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2015.02.003.

Medical abortion provided by telemedicine to women in Latin America: Complications and their treatment

Larrea S, Palència L and Perez G


Objective: To analyse reported complications and their treatment after a medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol provided by a telemedicine service to women living in Latin America.

Methods: Observational study based on the registry of consultations in a telemedicine service. A total of 872 women who used the service in 2010 and 2011 participated in the study. The dependent variables were overall complications, hemorrhage, incomplete abortion, overall treatments, surgical evacuation, and antibiotics. Independent variables were age, area of residence, socioeconomic deprivation, previous children, pregnancies and abortions, and week of pregnancy. We fitted Poisson regression models with robust variance to estimate incidence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).

Results: Complications were reported by 14.6% of the participants: 6.2% reported hemorrhage and 6.8% incomplete abortion. Nearly one-fifth (19.0%) received postabortion treatment: 10.9% had a surgical evacuation and 9.3% took antibiotics. Socioeconomic deprivation increased the risk of complications by 64% (95%CI: 15%-132%), and, among these, the risk of incomplete abortion by 82% (95%CI: 8%-206%) and the risk of surgical intervention by 62% (95%CI: 7%-144%). Previous pregnancies increased the risk of complications and, specifically, the risk of hemorrhage by 2.29 times (95%CI: 1.33-3.95%). Women with a pregnancy of 12 or more weeks had a 2.45 times higher risk of receiving medical treatment and a 2.94 times higher risk of taking antibiotics compared with women with pregnancies of 7 or less weeks.

Conclusion: Medical abortion provided by telemedicine seems to be a safe and effective alternative in contexts where it is legally restricted.

Comment: In areas or circumstances where it is difficult to go to a clinic, the use of telemedicine for safe abortion is a safe and effective alternative. (HMV)