OBJECTIVES: To investigate the long term risk (mean > 20 years) of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in women who had or had not had a hysterectomy.
DESIGN: Nested cohort study.
SETTING: Royal College of General Practitioners' oral contraception study.
PARTICIPANTS: 7410 women (3705 flagged at the NHS central registries for cancer and death who had a hysterectomy during the oral contraception study and 3705 who were flagged but did not have the operation).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
RESULTS: 623 (8.4%) women had died by the end of follow-up (308 in the hysterectomy group and 315 in the non-hysterectomy group). Older women who had had a hysterectomy had a 6% reduced risk of death compared with women of a similar age who did not have the operation (adjusted hazard ratio 0.94, 95% confidence interval 0.75 to 1.18). Compared with young women who did not have a hysterectomy those who were younger at hysterectomy had an adjusted hazard ratio for all cause mortality of 0.82 (0.65 to 1.03). Hysterectomy was not associated with a significantly altered risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease or cancer regardless of age.
CONCLUSION: Hysterectomy did not increase the risk of death in the medium to long term.