ED Rounds – Early Pregnancy

Pregnancy of Unknown Location & Early Pregnancy Loss

Presented by: Dr Robin Clouston

 


 

  • Ruling out ectopic pregnancy is a critical issue in evaluation of the symptomatic patient in early pregnancy
  • In women presenting to ED with abdominal pain or pv bleeding, prevalence of ectopic as high as 13%
  • Well known sequelae of missed ectopic
    • Rupture, tubal infertility, possible death
  • Sequelae of false positive diagnosis of ectopic
    • Termination of viable, desired pregnancy

 


Sonographic findings in Ectopic

  • Adnexal mass
    • Simple adnexal cyst – low probability ectopic if < 3mm (5%)
    • Complex adnexal mass – high probability ectopic (90%)
    • Most common location: ampullary or isthmic portion of fallopian tube (95% of ectopics)
  • Isolated free fluid in the pelvis
    • Rarely the only sonographic finding
  • Pseudogestational sac – seen in at most 10% ectopic
  • Normal scan – 15 to 25%

Utility of US with low βHCG

  • ACEP recommends:

“Proceed to transvaginal ultrasonogaphy in symptomatic patients with βHCG less than 1000.”

  • Comprehensive transvaginal ultrasonography has a moderate sensitivity to detect IUP with βHCG < 1000
    • 40 to 67% sensitive
  • For patients whose final diagnosis is ectopic:
    • When βHCG < 1000, TVUS had 86 to 92% sensitivity to detect findings suggestive of ectopic

Safety of Discharge

  • NJEM 2013:3
    • there is limited risk in taking a few extra days to make a definitive diagnosis in a woman with a pregnancy of unknown location who has no signs or symptoms of rupture and no ultrasonographic evidence of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Progression of hCG values over a period of 48 hours provides valuable information:13
    • If failure to fall by 15%
    • And failure to rise by 55%
    • …most likely diagnosis is ectopic pregnancy

Morin L et al. Ultrasound Evaluation of First Trimester Complications of Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2016;38(10):982-988

 

 


 

A reasonable approach

In the pregnant patient with vaginal bleeding and / or abdominal pain:

  • Always perform bedside US to establish ?definitive IUP
  • Do not rule out ectopic pregnancy in patients with empty uterus and βHCG < 1000
  • Do obtain a comprehensive TVUS when bedside US does not confirm IUP regardless of βHCG

In the pregnant patient with vaginal bleeding and / or abdominal pain:

  • When TVUS is delayed or remains non-diagnostic, involve obstetrician to aid in risk stratification and management
  • Reliable, hemodynamically stable patients may be discharged with follow up
  • Expedited TVUS (next day)
  • Repeat βHCG in 48h

 


 

Take Home Points

  • Do obtain a comprehensive TVUS when bedside US does not confirm IUP regardless of βHCG
  • Do not rule out ectopic pregnancy in patients with empty uterus and βHCG < 1000
    • Clinical judgment: safe discharge planning vs admission
    • Low threshold to involve Obs-Gyn for these cases
  • Early pregnancy loss is diagnosed by US when:
    • CRL >/= 7mm with no FRH
    • Mean sac diameter >/= 25mm and no embryo
  • Expectant, medical and surgical management are equally effective and safe in treatment of EPL
    • Patient preference may guide decision making

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