Diagnostic testing

A. Laboratory testing for patients suspected of having PID always begins with a pregnancy test to rule out ectopic pregnancy and complications of an intrauterine pregnancy. A urinalysis and a stool for occult blood should be obtained because abnormalities in either reduce the probability of PID. Blood counts have limited value. Fewer than one-half of PID patients exhibit leukocytosis.

B. Gram stain and microscopic examination of vaginal discharge may provide useful information. If a cervical Gram stain is positive for Gram-negative intracellular diplococci, the probability of PID greatly increases; if negative, it is of little use.

C. Increased white blood cells (WBC) in vaginal fluid may be the most sensitive single laboratory test for PID (78 percent for >3 WBC per high power field. However, the specificity is only 39 percent.

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