Complete hydatidiform mole. A disease with a changing profile

J Reprod Med. 1999 Aug;44(8):698-704.


Objective: To retrospectively evaluate the clinical presentation of complete molar pregnancies in an academic primary obstetrics and gynecology practice over the past decade.

Study design: All cases of abnormal pregnancy presenting to our institution during the first half of gestation were identified through a computerized database. Clinical presentation and course of complete moles were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-four complete molar pregnancies were identified among 2,431 abnormal early gestations (1%). The patients' mean age was 24.5 years, and the mean gestational age was 9.5 weeks of amenorrhea (range, 8-25). Seventy-five percent of the patients presented with vaginal bleeding and 54% with excessive uterine size. None had hyperemesis gravidarum, preeclampsia, clinical hyperthyroidism or ovarian enlargement. All patients had abnormally elevated serum beta-hCG. Transvaginal ultrasound was diagnostic in more than half the patients, while it was suggestive of the diagnosis in the remainder. One patient experienced postevacuation trophoblastic embolization and developed persistent gestational trophoblastic disease.

Conclusion: Due to the routine use of transvaginal ultrasound and serum beta-hCG in the workup of early gestational abnormalities, complete molar pregnancy rarely presents today with the traditional signs and symptoms. Despite their absence, the potential for persistent trophoblastic disease still exists, and careful follow-up is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human / analysis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydatidiform Mole / diagnosis*
  • Hydatidiform Mole / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology
  • Vagina / diagnostic imaging


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human