Objective. To assess the compliance of HSIL patients to the national Dutch routine follow-up protocol in the first 2 years after LLETZ and to determine if based on the status of excision margins, follow-up intervals could be modified.
Methods. A prospective cohort study was performed in patients, referred because of an abnormal Pap smear between 1996 and 2004 and treated for HSIL with LLETZ. The Dutch national routine follow-up protocol orders a Pap smear after 6, 12 and 24 months, respectively. Follow-up results were completed by using PALGA, the nationwide network and registry of histo- and cytopathology in the Netherlands. To assess compliance to the follow-up protocol, adequate follow-up was defined as three cervical smears taken after 6 (+/-3), 12 (+/-3) and 24 (+/-3) months, respectively.
Results. Compliance to the first 2 years follow-up protocol declined from 86.2% to 64.8% to 51.2% for first, second and third follow-up cervical smears, respectively. Patients with involved excision margins had a three times higher overall risk of developing a subsequent HSIL after LLETZ as compared to patients with free excision margins (HR: 3.2, 95% Cl = 1.3-7.9, p, = 0.01). Risk for diagnosing HSIL during the first 12 months of follow-up for patients with free excision margins was only 1%.
Conclusions. Compliance to the Dutch national routine follow-up protocol in HSIL patients after LLETZ is only moderate. For HSIL patients with free excision margins after LLETZ the first cytological follow-up interval can safely be increased to 12 months. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.