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Early Pregnancy Loss Management in the Emergency Department vs Outpatient Setting.

Benson LS, Holt SK, Gore JL, Callegari LS, Chipman AK, Kessler L, Dalton VK. Early Pregnancy Loss Management in the Emergency Department vs Outpatient Setting. JAMA Network Open. 2023 Mar 1; 6(3):e232639.

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IMPORTANCE: Early pregnancy loss (EPL), or miscarriage, is the most common complication of early pregnancy, and many patients experiencing EPL present to the emergency department (ED). Little is known about how patients who present to the ED with EPL differ from those who present to outpatient clinics and how their management and outcomes differ. OBJECTIVE: To compare the management and outcomes of patients with EPL who present to the ED vs outpatient clinics. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study used the IBM MarketScan Research Database, a national insurance claims database. Participants were pregnant people aged 15 to 49 years in the US who presented to either an ED or outpatient clinic for initial diagnosis of EPL from October 2015 through December 2019. Data analysis was performed from May 2021 to March 2022. EXPOSURES: The primary exposure was location of service (ED vs outpatient clinic). Other exposures of interest included demographic characteristics, current pregnancy history, and comorbidities. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was EPL management type (surgical, medication, or expectant management). Complications, including blood transfusion and hospitalization, and characteristics associated with location of service were also evaluated. Bivariable analyses and multivariable logistic regression were used for data analysis. RESULTS: A total of 117?749 patients with EPL diagnoses were identified, with a mean (SD) age of 31.8 (6.1) years. Of these patients, 20?826 (17.7%) initially presented to the ED, and 96?923 (82.3%) presented to outpatient clinics. Compared with the outpatient setting, patients in the ED were less likely to receive surgical (2925 patients [14.0%] vs 23?588 patients [24.3%]) or medication (1116 patients [5.4%] vs 10?878 patients [11.2%]) management. In the adjusted analysis, characteristics associated with decreased odds of active (surgical or medication) vs expectant management included ED (vs outpatient) presentation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.44-0.47), urban location (aOR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.82-0.91), and being a dependent on an insurance policy (vs primary policy holder) (aOR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.67-0.74); whereas older age (aOR per 1-year increase 1.01; 95% CI, 1.01-1.01), established prenatal care (aOR, 2.35; 95% CI, 2.29-2.42), and medical comorbidities (aOR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.09) were associated with increased odds of receiving active management. Patients in the ED were more likely than those in outpatient clinics to need a blood transfusion (287 patients [1.4%] vs 202 patients [0.2%]) or hospitalization (463 patients [2.2%] vs 472 patients [0.5%]), but complications were low regardless of location of service. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of privately insured patients with EPL, differences in management between the ED vs outpatient setting may reflect barriers to accessing comprehensive EPL management options. More research is needed to understand these significant differences in management approaches by practice setting, and to what extent EPL management reflects patient preferences in both outpatient and ED settings.

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