Are high vaginal swabs in asymptomatic women necessary?

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.

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