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South Med J. 1991 Dec;84(12):1467-9.

Ectopic pregnancy in an urban teaching hospital: can tubal rupture be predicted?

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


We evaluated the medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests done on 245 patients with laparoscopically proven ectopic pregnancies. The absence of abdominal pain was the only clinically useful negative predictive value (91%) regarding tubal rupture. Although mean levels of serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG-beta subunit) were significantly higher in patients with ruptured versus unruptured ectopic pregnancies (16,612 mIU/mL vs 6406 mIU/mL), no breakpoint excluded the possibility of tubal rupture. In fact, one third of ectopic pregnancies in patients with a serum beta-hCG level below 100 mIU/mL were ruptured. We conclude that clinical symptoms and signs are poor predictors of tubal rupture. In addition, absolute values of serum beta-hCG are not helpful in excluding the possibility of rupture.

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