BACKGROUND: "One-stop" outpatient hysteroscopy clinics have become well established for the investigation and treatment of women with abnormal uterine bleeding. However, the advantages of these clinics may be offset by patient factors such as anxiety, pain, and dissatisfaction. This study aimed to establish patients' views and experiences of outpatient service delivery in the context of a one-stop diagnostic and therapeutic hysteroscopy clinic, to determine the amount of anxiety experienced by these women and compare this with other settings, and to determine any predictors for patient preferences. METHODS: The 20-item State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was given to 240 women attending a one-stop hysteroscopy clinic: to 73 consecutive women before their appointment in a general gynecology clinic and to 36 consecutive women attending a chronic pelvic pain clinic. The results were compared with published data for the normal female population, for women awaiting major surgery, and for women awaiting a colposcopy clinic appointment. In addition, a questionnaire designed to ascertain patients' views and experiences was used. Logistic regression analysis was used to delineate the predictive values of diagnostic or therapeutic hysteroscopy, and to determine their effect on the preference of patients to have the procedure performed under general anesthesia in the future. RESULTS: Women attending the hysteroscopy clinic in this study reported significantly higher levels of anxiety than those attending the general gynecology clinic (median, 45 vs 39; p = 0.004), but the levels of anxiety were comparable with those of women attending the chronic pelvic pain clinic (median, 45 vs 46; p = 0.8). As compared with the data from the normal female population (mean, 35.7) and those reported for women awaiting major surgery (mean, 41.2), the levels of anxiety experienced before outpatient hysteroscopy clinic treatment were found to be higher (mean, 45.7). Only women awaiting colposcopy (6-item mean score, 51.1 +/- 13.3) experienced significantly higher anxiety scores than the women awaiting outpatient hysteroscopy (6-item mean score, 47.3 +/- 13.9; p = 0.002). Despite their anxiety, most women are satisfied with the outpatient hysteroscopy "see and treat" service. High levels of anxiety, particularly concerning pain but not operative intervention, were significant predictors of patients desiring a future procedure to be performed under general anesthesia. CONCLUSIONS: Outpatient hysteroscopy is associated with significant anxiety, which increases the likelihood of intolerance for the outpatient procedure. However, among those undergoing operative therapeutic procedures, dissatisfaction was not associated with the outpatient setting.
- See and Treat clinics