Gonorrhea and chlamydia in the emergency department: Continued need for more focused treatment for men, women and pregnant women.

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The American journal of emergency medicine


INTRODUCTION: Delay in current nucleic acid amplification testing for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis has led to recommendations for presumptive treatment in patients with concern for infection and unreliable follow-up. In the urban setting, it is assumed that many patients have unreliable follow-up, therefore presumptive therapy is thought to be used frequently. We sought to measure the frequency of disease and accuracy of presumptive treatment for these infections.

METHODS: This was an observational cohort study performed at an urban academic Level 1 trauma center ED with an annual census of 95,000 visits per year. Testing was performed using the APTIMA Unisex swab assay (Gen-Probe Incorporated, San Diego, CA). Presumptive therapy was defined as receiving treatment for both infections during the initial encounter without confirmation of diagnosis.

RESULTS: A total of 1162 patients enrolled. Infection was present in 26% of men, 14% of all women and 11% of pregnant women. Despite high frequency of presumptive treatment, >4% of infected patients in each category went untreated.

CONCLUSION: Inaccuracy of presumptive treatment was common for these sexually transmitted infections. There is an opportunity to improve diagnostic accuracy for treatment.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Chlamydia Infections; Chlamydia trachomatis; Emergency Service, Hospital; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Gonorrhea; Health Services Research; Humans; Male; Needs Assessment; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Infectious; Sensitivity and Specificity; United States; Urban Population

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