Are high vaginal swabs in asymptomatic women necessary?
E. Milligan, A. Kasliwal
Palatine Centre, Manchester, UK
Introduction: In many clinics high vaginal swabs (HVS) are routinely
taken in women prior to Intrauterine Device (IUD) insertion. It is an expensive
test and may add little to patient management.
Aim: To assess whether results of HVS taken in asymptomatic women
affect the management of patients.
Material and Method: We included all women who had an HVS done at the
Palatine Centre from 1st September’03 to 30th November’03. A retrospective
analysis of case sheets was done to confirm if the woman had been symptomatic
and if not, whether the result affected our management in any way.
Results: 455 (70%) of the 650 HVS taken in this period were in
asymptomatic women. Only 15% of these swabs gave any result, none of which had
any effect on our management.
Conclusions: HVS is not a useful test for asymptomatic women. Each
swab costs 7.42. The tests cost our service over 8,000 every year, a resource
that could be better spent. Hence, we will stop this practice. Recent Faculty of
Family Planning guidelines published support this.