Ectopic Pregnancy

Dr Swapnil Pawar October 17, 2022 131

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    Ectopic Pregnancy
    Dr Swapnil Pawar

Ectopic Pregnancy 

Written by Dr Ashley Liu

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies should always be considered in any patient of reproductive age with vaginal bleeding +/- abdominal pain.

Clinical Manifestation

The most common presentation of ectopic pregnancy is usually first-trimester vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain. This may be associated with normal pregnancy discomforts (breast tenderness, frequent urination, nausea).

Vaginal bleeding: varied but usually preceded by a period of amenorrhoea.

Abdominal pain: varied but may be diffuse or localised and usually localised in the pelvis. Sudden onset of pain may be associated with tubal rupture. Shoulder pain may be associated with bleeding irritating the diaphragm. 

It is also important to remember ectopic pregnancies may also present asymptomatically.

Risk Factors

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Prior tubal pathology
  • Previous surgery (e.g. pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal ligation)
  • Current use of IUD or IVF

Note>50% of patients do not have an identifiable risk factor for pregnancy.

Diagnostic criteria

B-Hcg + Transvaginal/Transabdominal US

  • B-Hcg > 1500 – Should be able to see gestational sac on US
  • B-Hcg < 1500 – Continue serial monitoring 48h. If it continues to rise/plateau, it would be concerning for an ectopic pregnancy



If stable, B-hcg <1500

Monitor serum B-hcg every 48 hours until it reaches 0

If compliant, B-hcg <5000, mass < 3.5cm, no fetal heart rate

IM Methotrexate (single dose or more)

  • Measure B-Hcg on Day 4 or Day 7 for 15% drop in B-Hcg
  • Monitor serum B-hcg until it reaches 0

Contraindicated in renal/hepatic failure, breastfeeding, immunodeficiency, peptic ulcer disease


If medical management is contraindicated, poor compliance, B-hcg >5000, mass >3.5cm present fetal heart rate


  • More commonly performed


  • 10% recurrence
  • Indicated if only one tube left



UpToDate “Ectopic Pregnancy: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis”:

UpToDate “Ectopic pregnancy: Choosing a treatment”: 


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