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Abortion mortality, United States, 1972 through 1987.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Nov; 171(5):1365-72.AJ

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of our study was to describe risk factors for legal abortion mortality and the characteristics of women who died of legal abortion complications for the period 1972 through 1987.

STUDY DESIGN

We reviewed abortion mortality surveillance data collected by the Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and calculated rates by various demographic and reproductive health variables using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's abortion surveillance data as denominators. Rates are reported as legal abortion deaths per 100,000 abortions.

RESULTS

Between 1972 and 1987, 240 women died as a result of legal induced abortions. The case-fatality rate decreased 90% over time, from 4.1 deaths per 100,000 abortions in 1972 to 0.4 in 1987. Women > or = 40 years old had three times the risk of death as teenagers (relative risk 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 6.0), and black women and those of other minority races had 2.5 times the risk of white women (relative risk 2.5, 95% confidence interval 1.9 to 3.2). Abortions at > or = 16 weeks were associated with a risk of death almost 15 times the risk of death from procedures at < or = 12 weeks' gestation. Women undergoing currettage procedures for abortion had a significantly lower risk of death than women undergoing other procedures. Whereas before 1977 infection and hemorrhage were the leading causes of death, during 1977 through 1982 anesthesia complications emerged as one of the leading causes of death and since 1983 have become the most frequent cause.

CONCLUSIONS

Although legal induced abortion-related deaths are rare events, our findings suggest that more rigorous efforts are needed to increase the safety of anesthetic methods and anesthetic agents used for abortions and that efforts are still necessary to monitor serious complications of abortion aimed at further reducing risks of death associated with the procedure.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Pregnancy and Infant Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

7977548

Citation

Lawson, H W., et al. "Abortion Mortality, United States, 1972 Through 1987." American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 171, no. 5, 1994, pp. 1365-72.
Lawson HW, Frye A, Atrash HK, et al. Abortion mortality, United States, 1972 through 1987. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994;171(5):1365-72.
Lawson, H. W., Frye, A., Atrash, H. K., Smith, J. C., Shulman, H. B., & Ramick, M. (1994). Abortion mortality, United States, 1972 through 1987. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 171(5), 1365-72.
Lawson HW, et al. Abortion Mortality, United States, 1972 Through 1987. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994;171(5):1365-72. PubMed PMID: 7977548.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Abortion mortality, United States, 1972 through 1987. AU - Lawson,H W, AU - Frye,A, AU - Atrash,H K, AU - Smith,J C, AU - Shulman,H B, AU - Ramick,M, PY - 1994/11/1/pubmed PY - 1994/11/1/medline PY - 1994/11/1/entrez KW - Abortion, Induced KW - Americas KW - Biology KW - Blacks KW - Comparative Studies KW - Cultural Background KW - Demographic Factors KW - Developed Countries KW - Ethnic Groups KW - Family Planning KW - Fertility Control, Postconception KW - Maternal Mortality KW - Mortality KW - North America KW - Northern America KW - Population KW - Population Characteristics KW - Population Dynamics KW - Probability KW - Research Methodology KW - Research Report KW - Risk Factors KW - Statistical Studies KW - Studies KW - Time Factors KW - United States SP - 1365 EP - 72 JF - American journal of obstetrics and gynecology JO - Am J Obstet Gynecol VL - 171 IS - 5 N2 - OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study was to describe risk factors for legal abortion mortality and the characteristics of women who died of legal abortion complications for the period 1972 through 1987. STUDY DESIGN: We reviewed abortion mortality surveillance data collected by the Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and calculated rates by various demographic and reproductive health variables using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's abortion surveillance data as denominators. Rates are reported as legal abortion deaths per 100,000 abortions. RESULTS: Between 1972 and 1987, 240 women died as a result of legal induced abortions. The case-fatality rate decreased 90% over time, from 4.1 deaths per 100,000 abortions in 1972 to 0.4 in 1987. Women > or = 40 years old had three times the risk of death as teenagers (relative risk 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.5 to 6.0), and black women and those of other minority races had 2.5 times the risk of white women (relative risk 2.5, 95% confidence interval 1.9 to 3.2). Abortions at > or = 16 weeks were associated with a risk of death almost 15 times the risk of death from procedures at < or = 12 weeks' gestation. Women undergoing currettage procedures for abortion had a significantly lower risk of death than women undergoing other procedures. Whereas before 1977 infection and hemorrhage were the leading causes of death, during 1977 through 1982 anesthesia complications emerged as one of the leading causes of death and since 1983 have become the most frequent cause. CONCLUSIONS: Although legal induced abortion-related deaths are rare events, our findings suggest that more rigorous efforts are needed to increase the safety of anesthetic methods and anesthetic agents used for abortions and that efforts are still necessary to monitor serious complications of abortion aimed at further reducing risks of death associated with the procedure. SN - 0002-9378 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/7977548/Abortion_mortality_United_States_1972_through_1987_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/0002-9378(94)90162-7 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -