Researchers in Germany have warned that women with HIV are more likely to suffer complications after obstetric or gynecological surgery. "Clinical observations indicate that [HIV-positive] women experience more post-operative problems than do HIV-negative women," according to Dr. Thomas A. Grubert and colleagues at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.
Post-operative morbidity is especially likely after certain procedures, the researchers found after reviewing data from 235 obstetric and gynecological procedures performed on HIV-positive women. This patient cohort was compared with an equally large group of age- and procedure-matched HIV-negative controls.
The infected women -- especially those with highly compromised immune systems -- had significantly higher post-operative morbidity rates. HIV patients were almost eight times more likely to suffer from complications after gynecologic curettage, the data showed, while the risk of morbidity after abdominal surgery was more than tripled for HIV-positive women. Neither standard antibiotic prophylaxis nor antiretroviral treatment reduced the risk of procedure-related morbidity in the women studied.
"Indications for performing abdominal surgery and curettage on HIV-infected women should be carefully weighed against the potential risk of post-operative complications," Grubert and colleagues concluded in their report, "Rates of Postoperative Complications Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infected Women Who Have Undergone Obstetric and Gynecologic Surgical Procedures," published in Clinical Infectious Diseases (March 15, 2002;34(6):822-830).
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