Diagnosis and treatment of ectopic pregnancy

Murray, Heather; Baakdah, Hanadi; Bardell, Trevor; Tulandi, Togas
October 2005
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;10/11/2005, Vol. 173 Issue 8, p905
Academic Journal
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY IS A LIFE- AND FERTILITY-threatening condition that is commonly seen in Canadian emergency departments. Increases in the availability and use of hormonal markers, coupled with advances in formal and emergency ultrasonography have changed the diagnostic approach to the patient in the emergency department with first-trimester bleeding or pain. Ultrasonography should be the initial investigation for symptomatic women in their first trimester; when the results are indeterminate, the serum β human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) concentration should be measured. Serial measurement of β-hCG and progesterone concentrations may be useful when the diagnosis remains unclear. Advances in surgical and medical therapy for ectopic pregnancy have allowed the proliferation of minimally invasive or noninvasive treatment. Guidelines for laparoscopy and for methotrexate therapy are provided.


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