UNSAFE ABORTION MORBIDITY – The magnitude and severity of abortion-related morbidity in settings with limited access to abortion services

by C Calvert, OO Owolabi, F Yeung, R Pittrof, B Ganatra et al

BMJ Global Health 2017;3(3)

This systematic review estimated the magnitude and severity of complications of unsafe abortion from 1988-2014 in 70 studies from 28 countries. About 1.5% of admissions ended in death, with no evidence for a difference in case fatality rates in 1988-95 studies compared to 2009-13 studies. Haemorrhage was the most common complication reported; the pooled percentage of abortion-related cases with severe haemorrhage was 23%, with around 9% reporting near-miss haemorrhage. There was strong evidence for between-study heterogeneity across most outcomes. The results suggest that a substantial percentage of abortion-related hospital admissions have potentially life-threatening complications.