THURSDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- An alarming increase in ectopic pregnancy-related deaths among Florida women is likely caused by illicit drug use and delays in seeking medical care, a U.S. report released Thursday says.
The finding that deaths from ectopic pregnancies jumped fourfold in the past decade in Florida points to a need for improved access to health care and greater awareness of the importance of early pregnancy testing, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report published in the Feb. 17 issue of the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
"This is the first report of an abrupt increase in ectopic pregnancy deaths identified in the United States in recent times," the CDC researchers said in the report.
Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If undetected, the mother-to-be may die from hemorrhage due to tubal rupture.
From 1999 to 2008, Florida's death rate from ectopic pregnancy was similar to the national rate -- 0.6 deaths per 100,000 live births -- but it jumped dramatically in recent years to 2.5 per 100,000 births in 2009-2010. While 13 ectopic-related deaths were reported in Florida in the decade 1999 to 2008, nearly that number -- 11 -- were reported in just 2009-2010, the agency said. During that time, the proportion of deaths caused by ectopic pregnancies soared from 3.5 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths to 10.8 percent, the report noted.
Compared to the earlier period, the women who died from tubal pregnancy in 2009-2010 were more likely to be single, white or Hispanic, lack health insurance and have less than a high school education, the report found.
Officials said the women who died during 2009-2010 were more likely to have collapsed from hemorrhage before seeing a health care provider than the women who died du
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