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Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Jun;17(6):506-9.

The role of ultrasound in the expectant management of early pregnancy loss.

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Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit, Homerton Hospital, Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London Hospitals School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.



To define the sonographic criteria which best determine the likelihood of successful expectant management of early pregnancy failure (EPF).


Women with an ultrasound diagnosis of EPF at 7-14 weeks' gestation were offered the option of expectant management or surgical evacuation.


Five hundred and forty-five women had a diagnosis of EPF; 298 with incomplete miscarriage and 247 with missed miscarriage or an embryonic pregnancy. A total of 305 women opted for expectant management, with an overall success rate of 86%. The success rate for incomplete miscarriage (96%) was significantly better than that for missed miscarriage (62%).


This study demonstrates that EPF can be safely managed expectantly. Ultrasound has an invaluable role in predicting the likelihood of successful expectant management enabling patients to make an informed choice about their medical care.

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