Diagnosis and laparoscopic management of 11 consecutive cases of cornual ectopic pregnancy

R MacRae, O Olowu, M I Rizzuto, F Odejinmi
Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics 2009, 280 (1): 59-64

OBJECTIVE: To determine the pre-operative diagnosis by two dimensional ultrasound scan and the outcome of the laparoscopic management of cornual ectopic pregnancy.

DESIGN: Prospective database cohort study.

SETTING: Whipps Cross University Hospital, UK (District General Hospital).

PATIENTS: Eleven patients with cornual ectopic pregnancy presenting in our hospital between January 2003 and December 2007.

INTERVENTIONS: Laparoscopic cornuostomy or cornual resection.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Pre-operative diagnosis by ultrasound scan, conversion rate to laparotomy, successful laparoscopy (not requiring further treatment), complication rate and duration of hospital stay.

RESULTS: The mean gestational age was 8 +/- 2 weeks. All 11 patients presented with abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding and two (18%) patients became haemodynamically unstable before laparoscopy. There were five (45%) patients with risk factors for ectopic pregnancy. The mean serum beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hcg) was 15,263 +/- 12,045 microm/ml. One patient did not have a transvaginal scan as it was decided to proceed to surgery on clinical grounds. The diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy was correct at initial scan in nine (90%) of the ten patients who had transvaginal scans as one patient was misdiagnosed at the first scan. However, an ectopic pregnancy was diagnosed on a second ultrasound scan assessment. Initial laparoscopy was negative in one of the nine patients diagnosed as having an ectopic pregnancy. The diagnosis was later confirmed following serial serum beta-hcg monitoring, a repeat scan and a second laparoscopy. Ten (91%) of the 11 patients had successful operative laparoscopy as one (9%) patient had conversion to laparotomy. Among patients who had laparoscopic surgery, cornuostomy was performed in three (30%) patients while cornual resection was performed in the other seven (70%) patients. One (10%) of the patients who had laparoscopic surgery needed further treatment with systemic methotrexate. This patient had a cornual resection and was the only complication following laparoscopic surgery. The mean hospital stay was 2 days.

CONCLUSION: This presentation of one of the larger series of patients with cornual ectopic pregnancy managed by laparoscopic surgery reveals that experience at ultrasonography and laparoscopic technique can lead to earlier diagnosis and few cases requiring laparotomy or further treatment. In addition laparoscopic surgery for cornual ectopic is safe and lends itself to conservative approach (cornuostomy) in selected cases.

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