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Ectopic Pregnancy Part 1

March 5, 2009
Written by: , Filed in: Obstetric Ultrasound
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We’re going to begin with ectopic pregnancy, which I think is a particularly excellent board examination question. This is the ultrasound equivalent to a tension pneumothorax.

If you blow the tension pneumothorax on a chest exam, you can plan on a repeat trip back to Kentucky the next year for your Boards, and if you blow the ectopic pregnancy on the sonogram exam than you’re in serious trouble.

So, this is a very important aspect of sonography.

There are among women, groups that are particularly high risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had a previous ectopic pregnancy have about a 10% recurrence risk.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) of course is the principal pathophysiologic reason why women ended up getting ectopic pregnancies, and IUD plus pregnancy.

These are women who you will see having sonograms even when they’re asymptomatic.

Ordinarily a woman who is suspected of having an ectopic pregnancy is symptomatic, so these patients are referred to rule out ectopic pregnancy, even at a time when they are asymptomatic.

But the rule to remember is that any woman of child bearing age is at risk to harbor an ectopic pregnancy.

In part two we will go over methodology for a suspected ectopic pregnancy.

Author: Roy A. Filly, MD
Excerpted from:
Diagnostic Imaging Review: For Residents, Fellows and Radiologists
Female Pelvis Section

Women’s and Breast Imaging

New York University Post-Graduate Medical School and the Department of Radiology This course is designed for the practicing radiologist with particular interest in women’s imaging and breast imaging. During the women’s imaging segment, the participating faculty will discuss each of the imaging modalities applied to obstetrical and gynecological imaging including ultrasound, MRI and CT. Practical and multimodality approaches to common imaging problems in the female pelvis will be emphasized, including imaging of the patient with pelvic pain, evaluation of adnexal masses and assessment of benign and malignant disorders of the uterus. Topics in obstetrical imaging will include requirements for the sonographic fetal anatomic survey, sonographic evaluation of obstetrical emergencies, normal and abnormal first trimester pregnancy and imaging pitfalls. The role of MR and CT in the evaluation of the pregnant patient will also be discussed. Click here to read more or order: Women’s and Breast Imaging
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