Background: The aim of this retrospective study was to analyze the safety and efficacy of the conservative approach in the management of ectopic pregnancy.
Methods: Thirty-five women with a tubal ectopic pregnancy, from 1990 to 1995, were subdivided into 2 treatment groups. Inclusion criteria were the following: tubal diameter < 3 cm, free fluid < 100 ml, no embryo heart activity, haemodynamic stability. Desire of future fertility and informed consent were requested. Eighteen women were treated with a single intramuscular injection of methotrexate, whereas in 17 cases expectant management was adopted.
Results: In the first group 2 cases required surgical treatment (resolution rate = 89%). In the second group no surgery was needed and spontaneous resolution was achieved in all cases (100%). In both groups the average resolution time was about 17 days. Serum hCG-beta levels were monitored daily until resolution. The initial hCG-beta value and its following trend seem to be the most important prognostic factors.
Conclusions: More studies are indeed needed to establish the effect of conservative management on fertility after ectopic pregnancy.