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Ultrasound Best Detector of Dangerous Ectopic Pregnancies, Study Finds
Date:4/23/2013

re or a laparotomy may [also] be required," she added.

"For any patient who is pregnant in the first trimester -- and has not had a sonogram -- who experiences sudden onset of abdominal pain and spotting, it is important to go to the nearest hospital to be evaluated for an ectopic pregnancy," Gaither said. "The trip may be lifesaving."

One other expert agreed.

"Ectopic pregnancy poses such a risk to patients of childbearing age that it should always be considered when a patient is pregnant and has abdominal pain," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. "Good surveillance with early ultrasound and close follow-up ... can significantly lessen risks, which include emergency surgery and transfusion."

According to background information in the review, ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the first trimester and causes up to 6 percent of pregnant women's deaths in the early stages of pregnancy.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about ectopic pregnancy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Jennifer Wu, M.D, obstetrician/gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Kecia Gaither, M.D, vice chair of obstetrics & gynecology, and director, maternal-fetal Medicine, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, New York City; Journal of the American Medical Association, news release, April 23, 2013


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