The aims of the study were to estimate the rate and to identify predictors of high-grade abnormalities among women with persistent low-grade abnormalities or high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) positivity for at least 2 years stratified by presence (high risk) or absence (low risk) of previous high-grade results or HPV 16/18.
A retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) for persistent low-grade or hrHPV positivity was performed. Patients were stratified based on whether they had a history of high-grade and/or HPV 16/18 positivity. Rates of high-grade or worse abnormalities on LEEP were compared using Fisher exact tests. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the associations between patient characteristics and high-grade results on the LEEP.
Three hundred eleven LEEPs were performed for persistent low-grade or hrHPV positivity. The rates of occult high grade were 12% and 22% among the low- and high-risk groups, respectively. Compared with those 45 years and older, the adjusted odds of high grade was 3.79 (95% CI = 1.19-12.1) for women aged 25-29 years. The odds of high grade was higher among current versus never smokers (6.40; 95% CI = 2.01-20.4) and those with a history of high-grade abnormality (2.23; 95% CI = 1.12-4.43). At 2 years, approximately half had an abnormal cytology and/or hrHPV positivity result independent of whether high grade was identified on their LEEP specimen.
Patients with persistent low-grade abnormalities or persistent hrHPV should be counseled on the risks and benefits of a LEEP given that 12%-22% have a risk of occult high grade, especially if they have a history of high-grade dysplasia.

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