April 4th, 2020

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Ectopic Pregnancy in Sterilized and Nonsterilized Women: A Comparison
Authors:  Nancy W. Hendrix, M.D., Suneet P. Chauhan, M.D., and Robert C. Maier, M.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To assess whether differences occurred in the presentation, treatment and postoperative outcomes of ectopic pregnancy in sterilized and nonsterilized women.

STUDY DESIGN: All cases of ectopic pregnancy admitted over five years at two hospitals were reviewed. Using a case-control method, patients with ectopic pregnancy and prior tubal sterilization were compared with the next nonsterilized patient with ectopic pregnancy admitted within 30 days. Statistical comparison, utilizing t tests, c2 tests or Fisher#s exact test, when appropriate, was performed.

RESULTS: Thirty-eight (18%) of 208 patients with ectopics during the study period had undergone prior sterilization. This group, when compared with the 38 nonsterilized patients with ectopics, was similar for gestational age at diagnosis, frequency of pelvic inflammatory and sexually transmitted diseases, and mean human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) level; the preoperative sonographic findings were also similar in the two groups. Sterilized patients were less likely than controls to have had serial hCG levels, while their mean duration of symptoms at admission was shorter. Although both groups had a similar distribution of surgical management (laparoscopy, laparotomy or both) and postoperative complications, there were trends toward a higher risk of ectopic rupture and hemoperitoneum in sterilized patients.

CONCLUSION: Ectopic pregnancies following tubal sterilization have clinical manifestations and surgical outcomes similar to those occurring without prior sterilization, except for less frequent determination of serial hCGs, probably related to a shorter duration of reported preceding symptoms. The trend toward more frequent rupture and hemoperitoneum in this group suggests that sterilized patients are less likely to heed the early warnings of this complication. (J Reprod Med 1998;43:515-520)
Keywords:  pregnancy, ectopic; sterilization
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