Role of previous ectopic pregnancy in altering the presentation of suspected ectopic pregnancy

J Reprod Med. 2003 Mar;48(3):133-6.


Objective: To evaluate the differences in the presentations of women with and without a prior history of an ectopic pregnancy and a suspicion of a current ectopic.

Study design: Evaluation of a cohort of patients presenting to an emergency department to exclude an ectopic pregnancy. Over a 58-month study period (January 1992-October 1996), 1,510 consecutive, pregnant women presenting to an emergency department with pelvic pain and/or vaginal bleeding to exclude an ectopic pregnancy were evaluated. A comparison was made of the presenting signs and symptoms between patients with and without a previous history of an ectopic pregnancy.

Results: Of patients presenting to exclude an ectopic pregnancy, 105 had a history of an ectopic pregnancy, and 1,355 had no such history. Fifty patients were excluded because they were lost to follow-up or transferred their care to another hospital. Those with a history of an ectopic pregnancy were more likely to be diagnosed again with an ectopic pregnancy, were older and were more likely to have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease and abdominal surgery. Patients with a history of an ectopic pregnancy presented earlier with a lower hCG level.

Conclusion: Women with a previous history of an ectopic present in a clinically different manner than do those without such a history.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / blood
  • Genital Diseases, Female / diagnosis*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / blood
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / complications*
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / diagnosis*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin