Verhandelingen - Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België vol:66 issue:2 pages:155-71
In the past patients with acute abdominal pain and presumably suffering from an ectopic pregnancy often required an immediate surgical intervention. The diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy has become more frequent during the last decades but the incidence of ectopic pregnancy rupture has declined. This decline is due to quantitative hCG measurements, minimally invasive surgery and transvaginal ultrasonography. Gynaecologists presently are increasingly confronted with pregnancies of unknown location (PUL). This is due to the fact that women consult earlier in pregnancy for ultrasonographic assessment. The usual biochemical procedures for diagnosing ectopic pregnancy have been developed for pregnancies associated with abdominal pain and abnormal bleeding and not for asymptomatic pregnant women with a much lower pre-test probability of ectopic pregnancy. For this reason new diagnostic procedures and criteria had to be developed and tested to detect ectopic pregnancies in women with PUL, without exerting any deleterious effect on early intra-uterine pregnancies. In our experience the hCG-ratio and our new mathematical model seem to be the best method to satisfy these criteria.