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Does speculum examination have a role in assessing bleeding in early pregnancy?
  1. R Hoey,
  2. K Allan
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R Hoey
 Accident and Emergency Department, Watford General Hospital, Vicarage Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD1 8HB, UK;


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.

  • speculum
  • vaginal bleeding
  • pregnancy

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.