The medical management of missed miscarriage: outcomes from a prospective, single-centre, Australian cohort

Scott G Petersen, Anneliese R Perkins, Kristen S Gibbons, Julia I Bertolone and Kassam Mahomed
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (5): 341-346. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11813


Objective: To report the prospective outcomes of medical management of missed miscarriage before 13 weeks' gestation from an Australian cohort.

Design: Descriptive study of a cohort selected out of a randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Outpatient management at a maternity hospital between 1 May 2007 and 28 July 2010.

Participants: 264 women requesting medical management of missed miscarriage.

Main outcome measures: Number of doses of misoprostol required, unscheduled visits for care, findings at ultrasound follow-up, requirement for surgical management, number of cases of gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), and self-reported patient experience.

Results: 107 women (40.5%) received a repeat dose of misoprostol, and 79 women (29.9%) made unscheduled visits for care. Among the 241 women with Day 7 ultrasound follow-up, a gestational sac was found in 32 women (13.3%), indicating failure of medical management. Complete miscarriage was induced without the need for surgery in 206 women (78.0%). Surgery was performed as an emergency in 13 women (4.9%). Twelve women (4.5%) had surgery for ongoing bleeding after medical management, and four of these did not have chorionic villi on histopathological examination. Five women (1.9%) had GTD, which was managed incidentally under the protocol. Among those who returned patient questionnaires, 73.0% participants (116/159) indicated that they would recommend medical management of miscarriage to other women, while 18.2% (29/159) indicated that they would undergo surgery next time.

Conclusion: The medical management of missed miscarriage on an outpatient basis is safe and effective.

Trial registration: ACTRN12612000150842.

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  • Scott G Petersen1
  • Anneliese R Perkins1
  • Kristen S Gibbons2
  • Julia I Bertolone1
  • Kassam Mahomed2,3

  • 1 Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Mater Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 Ipswich Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


We are grateful to all the registrars, consultants and nursing staff who assisted with recruitment into the study and management of the participating women at the Mater Mothers' Hospital. We acknowledge the Mater Research Support Centre for their support and encouragement.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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