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The objective of this study was to determine the proportion of women who had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy after being discharged from the emergency department (ED) where ectopic pregnancy had not yet been excluded.
This was a retrospective chart review of pregnant (<12-week gestational age) women discharged home from an academic tertiary care ED with a diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, rule-out ectopic pregnancy, or pregnancy of unknown location over a 7-year period.
Of the 550 included patients, 83 (15.1%) had a viable pregnancy, 94 (17.1%) had a spontaneous or missed abortion, 230 (41.8%) had an ectopic pregnancy, 72 (13.1%) had unknown outcomes, and 71 (12.9%) had other outcomes that included therapeutic abortion, molar pregnancy, or resolution of βHCG with no location documented. Of the 230 ectopic pregnancies, 42 (7.6%) underwent expectant management, 131 (23.8%) were managed medically with methotrexate, 29 (5.3%) were managed with surgical intervention, and 28 (5.1%) patients had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy after their index ED visit. Of the 550 included patients, 221 (40.2%) did not have a transvaginal ultrasound during their index ED visit, and 73 (33.0%) were subsequently diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.
These results may be useful for ED physicians counselling women with symptomatic early pregnancies about the risk of ectopic pregnancy after they are discharged from the ED.
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