Purpose: Pre-surgical point-of-care (POC) pregnancy testing in women of child-bearing age has become routine practice in hospitals across the United States. Its application in the ambulatory care setting is less ubiquitous. The authors herein present its application in their outpatient oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic, as implemented prior to procedures under intravenous sedation. Methods: This study was implemented as a retrospective, single-center review of clinical records. The authors examined data from Bellevue Hospital Center's oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic for women of child-bearing age undergoing outpatient procedures performed under intravenous sedation during a 22 month time period. The review focused on POC urine human gonadotropin (hCG) results. A basic statistical analysis was performed on the data. Additionally, an examination of the associated costs of this testing was performed. Results: The study included women between 12 and 50 years of age, of which there were 176. Five of the subjects (2.8%) were found to have an elevated hCG suggestive of pregnancy. The average age of those found to be pregnant was 22. All patients were originally scheduled for extraction of third molars. The cost of a single POC hCG test at the authors’ institution was $2.00. The cost to identify a single pregnancy within the study period was found to be $70.40. Conclusion: In the authors’ experience, POC hCG testing for women of childbearing age is easily integrated into a standardized pre-sedation workflow. Although the medications utilized for outpatient sedation procedures are generally considered safe for both mothers and developing fetuses, implementation of POC hCG testing allows for providers and patients to make more fully informed decisions regarding how to proceed with elective cases in the case of a previously undiagnosed pregnancy. Determination of pregnancy status prior to a procedure may prompt referral for appropriate prenatal care, while limiting surgeons’ exposure to medicolegal liability. This study contributes to a small body of extant reports from ambulatory surgery centers and outpatient clinics offering IV sedation, offering providers a context in which to consider their own implementation of routine hCG testing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery