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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 May;92(5):1748-53. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

Single serum activin a testing to predict ectopic pregnancy.

Author information

1
Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Reproductive Medicine, University of Siena, Policlinico Le Scotte, viale Bracci, 53100 Siena, Italy.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Ectopic pregnancy (EP) is an important cause of maternal deaths in early pregnancy because most fatal cases result from delayed diagnosis and inappropriate investigation.

OBJECTIVE:

We evaluated whether the measurement of activin A may be useful in the diagnosis of EP in women with unknown pregnancy location.

DESIGN:

The study was designed as an open observational study.

SETTING:

The study was set in a tertiary referral center for obstetric care.

PATIENTS:

Patients were women with unknown pregnancy location (n = 536) who had complaints of bleeding, pain, or cramping.

INTERVENTIONS:

Interventions included clinical examination; transvaginal ultrasound scan; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), progesterone, and activin A measurements; laparoscopy; uterine curettage; and histological examination.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Main outcome measures were pregnancy outcomes and evaluation of sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of hCG, progesterone, and activin A as diagnostic tests for the detection of EP.

RESULTS:

Pregnancy outcomes included 155 (28.9%) viable intrauterine pregnancies (IUP), 305 (56.9%) first-trimester spontaneous abortion (SAB), and 76 (14.2%) EP. SAB had the lowest (P < 0.0001) hCG and progesterone concentrations, significantly lower than EP (P < 0.001) and IUP (P < 0.001). In EP, levels were significantly (P < 0.001) lower than in IUP. On the contrary, activin A levels were lowest (P < 0.0001) in EP, significantly lower than in SAB (P < 0.001) and IUP (P < 0.001). IUP had significantly (P < 0.001) lower activin A levels than SAB. When evaluated by the receiver operating curve analysis, activin A at the cutoff of 0.37 ng/ml combined a sensitivity and a specificity of 100 and 99.6%, respectively, for prediction of EP. When activin A concentrations were below the cutoff, the positive predictive value for EP was 97.43%, and 0% for concentrations higher than 0.37 ng/ml.

CONCLUSIONS:

Activin A measurement may identify patients at risk of EP with a high sensibility and specificity.

PMID:
17341564
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2006-2188
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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