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Management of Unusual Not Scar Ectopic Pregnancy: A Multicentre Retrospective Case Series

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Background: Management of unusual not scar ectopic pregnancies (UNSEPs) is an unexplored clinical field because of their low incidence and lack of guidelines.

Objective: To report the clinical presentation, the first- and second-line treatment and outcomes of UNSEPs.

Methods: We retrospectively collected patients treated for UNSEP (namely cervical, interstitial, ovarian, angular, abdominal, cornual and intramural), their baseline characteristics, risk factors, symptoms, diagnostic pathway and the type of first-line treatment (medical, surgical or combined). We further collected treatment failures and the type of second- line treatment. We assessed treatment outcomes, time to serum beta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) level negativity, length of recovery, follow up and return to a normal menstrual cycle.

Results: From 2009 to 2019, we collected 79 cases. Of them, 27 (34%), 23 (29%), 12 (15%), 8 (10%), 6 (8%) and 3 (4%) were cervical, interstitial, ovarian, angular, abdominal and cornual, respectively. Forty women (50.6%) were submitted to medical treatment, mostly methotrexate based; conversely, 36 patients (45.6%) underwent surgery and only 3 women (3.8%) received a combined treatment. The success of first-line treatment rate, regardless of UNSEP location, was 53% and 89% for medical and surgical treatment, respectively. Treatment failures (21 patients) were submitted to second-line treatment, respectively 47.6% and 52.4% to medical and surgical approach. Of interest, cervical pregnancies achieved the lowest rate of first-line medical treatment success (22%) and received more frequently (69%) a subsequent surgical approach with no hysterectomy. Interstitial pregnancies were submitted to surgery mostly for a matter of urgency (71%), otherwise, they were treated with a medical approach both at first- and second-line treatment. Ovarian pregnancies were treated with ovariectomy in 44% of the cases submitted to surgery. Angular pregnancies underwent surgery more often, while all the abdominal pregnancies underwent endoscopic or open surgery. Cornual pregnancies received cornuostomy in 75% of the cases. Overall, the need for blood transfusion was 23.1% among the patients submitted to surgery. The median length of hospitalisation was shorter for women submitted to surgical first-line treatment (5 vs. 10 days; p = 0.002). In case of first-line medical treatment and in case of failure, we found an increase of 3 days (CI95% 0.6-5.5; p = 0.01) and of 3.6 days (CI95% 0.89-6.30; p = 0.01) in the length of hospitalisation, respectively. Negative β-HCG levels were obtained earlier in the surgical group (median 25 vs. 51 days; p = 0.001), as well as the return to normal menstrual cycle (median 31 vs. 67 days; p < 0.000). Post-treatment follow-up, regardless of the failure of first-line treatment was shorter in the surgical group (median 32 versus 68 days; p= 0.003).

Conclusion: Cervical pregnancies were successfully managed with a surgical approach without hysterectomy, and hence, we suggest avoiding medical treatment. No consensus emerged for other UNSEPs. Ovarian, angular and interstitial pregnancies are burdened by a non-conservative approach on the utero-ovarian structures. The surgical approach led to shorter recovery, earlier β-hCG negativity and shorter follow-up, even though there is an increased risk for blood transfusion.

Keywords: Ectopic pregnancy; abdominal pregnancy; angular pregnancy; cervical pregnancy; cornual pregnancy; hepatic pregnancy; interstitial pregnancy; intramural pregnancy; ovarian pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2022

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  • Current Women's Health Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on obstetrics and gynecology. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all clinicians and researchers in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology.
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