Author(s): Evangelos D Alexopoulos, Chantal D Simonis, Sally Kidsley, Toby N Fay
Objective To evaluate the efficacy, reliability and acceptability of outpatient hysteroscopy in the investigation of postmenopausal bleeding in a major teaching hospital.
Design A retrospective descriptive study of 862 women referred with postmenopausal bleeding for outpatient hysteroscopy.
Methods Between 1994 and 1997, 862 women were referred to the Women's Endoscopy Unit at Nottingham City Hospital for postmenopausal bleeding. Of these women, 171 were receiving hormone replacement treatment. The endocervical canal and the endometrial cavity were assessed using either a 4-mm rigid or a 3.5-mm flexible hysteroscope according to the preference of the operator. All hysteroscopies were performed by consultants or experienced registrars. Pipelle endometrial biopsy was taken when indicated.
Results The mean age of patients referred with postmenopausal bleeding was 58 years. Hysteroscopy was completed successfully in 97.2% of all patients. Cervical stenosis and pain were the main reasons for failure to complete the procedure. Local anaesthesia with paracervical infiltration was used in one-third of all patients undergoing hysteroscopy. Intrauterine polyps were the commonest finding (13.9%) while submucous fibroids were detected in 10.7%. Endometrial biopsies were taken in 34.7%. Abnormal histological findings were reported in 28 cases, including eight instances of endometrial adenocarcinoma. After hysteroscopic assessment, 81% of patients were discharged while further surgical treatment was warranted in 14.6%.
Conclusion Outpatient hysteroscopy is a reliable, safe and well-tolerated diagnostic procedure for investigating endometrial and endocervical pathology in patients with postmenopausal bleeding. Whenever hysteroscopic findings appear suspicious an endometrial biopsy should be taken to exclude endometrial pathology.Gynecology & Obstetrics