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Fertil Steril. 2007 Mar;87(3):481-4. Epub 2006 Dec 14.

Establishing a human chorionic gonadotropin cutoff to guide methotrexate treatment of ectopic pregnancy: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Penn Fertility Care, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Successful medical management of an ectopic pregnancy is inversely associated with initial hCG level. The purpose of this publication is to assess whether there is a level of hCG above which failure rate substantially increases.

DESIGN:

A systematic review and summary analysis was performed, including studies reporting methotrexate treatment outcomes as stratified by various hCG ranges.

SETTING:

Academic medical center.

PATIENT(S):

Review of published information regarding patients treated with methotrexate.

INTERVENTION(S):

None.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Success and failure rate of medical management.

RESULT(S):

Five observational studies, including 503 women, were found that reported successes in using single-dose methotrexate stratified by initial hCG concentration. Failure rates increase with increasing hCG levels. A substantial and statistically significant increase in failure rates is seen when comparing patients who have initial hCG levels of >5,000 mIU/mL with those who have initial levels of <5,000 mIU/mL (odds ratio: 5.45; 95% confidence interval: 3.04, 9.78). The failure rate for women who had an initial concentration between 5,000 and 9,999 mIU/mL was significantly higher than that for those who had initial levels between 2,000 and 4,999 mIU/mL (odds ratio: 3.76; 95% confidence interval: 1.16, 12.33).

CONCLUSION(S):

Results support a substantial increase in failure of medical management with single-dose methotrexate when the initial hCG is above 5,000 mIU/mL. Methotrexate should be used with caution in patients with ectopic pregnancy who present with hCG levels above this level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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