Relation between Chlamydia trachomatis infection and pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility in a Dutch cohort of women previously tested for chlamydia in a chlamydia screening trial

Bernice M. Hoenderboom, Birgit H. B. van Benthem, Jan E. A. M. van Bergen, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers, Hannelore M. Gotz, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe, Arjan A. Hogewoning, Jolande A. Land, Marianne A. B. van der Sande, Servaas A. Morre, Ingrid V. F. van den Broek

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVES: A better understanding of Chlamydia trachomatis infection (chlamydia)-related sequelae can provide a framework for effective chlamydia control strategies. The objective of this study was to estimate risks and risk factors of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility (TFI) with a follow-up time of up until 8 years in women previously tested for chlamydia in the Chlamydia Screening Implementation study (CSI) and participating in the Netherlands Chlamydia Cohort Study (NECCST).

METHODS: Women who participated in the CSI 2008-2011 (n=13 498) were invited in 2015-2016 for NECCST. Chlamydia positive was defined as a positive CSI-PCR test, positive chlamydia serology and/or self-reported infection (time dependent). Data on PID, ectopic pregnancy and TFI were collected by self-completed questionnaires. Incidence rates and HRs were compared between chlamydia-positive and chlamydia-negative women corrected for confounders.

RESULTS: Of 5704 women included, 29.5% (95% CI 28.3 to 30.7) were chlamydia positive. The incidence rate of PID was 1.8 per 1000 person-years (py) (1.6 to 2.2) overall, 4.4 per 1000 py (3.3 to 5.7) among chlamydia positives compared with 1.4 per 1000 py (1.1 to 1.7) for chlamydia negatives. For TFI, this was 0.4 per 1000 py (0.3 to 0.5) overall, 1.3 per 1000 py (0.8 to 2.1) and 0.2 per 1000 py (0.1 to 0.4) among chlamydia positives and negatives, respectively. And for ectopic pregnancy, this was 0.6 per 1000 py (0.5 to 0.8) overall, 0.8 per 1000 py (0.4 to 1.5) and 0.6 per 1000 py (0.4 to 0.8) for chlamydia negatives. Among chlamydia-positive women, the strongest risk factor for PID was symptomatic versus asymptomatic infection (adjusted HR 2.88, 1.4 to 4.5) and for TFI age <20 versus >24 years at first infection (HR 4.35, 1.1 to 16.8).

CONCLUSION: We found a considerably higher risk for PID and TFI in chlamydia-positive women, but the incidence for ectopic pregnancy was comparable between chlamydia-positive and chlamydia-negative women. Overall, the incidence rates of sequelae remained low.


Original languageEnglish
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections/complications
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility/complications
  • Mass Screening
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease/complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic/epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors

Cite this