MR imaging findings of ectopic pregnancy: a pictorial review

Rex A Parker, Motoyo Yano, Angela W Tai, Michael Friedman, Vamsi R Narra, Christine O Menias
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2012, 32 (5): 1445-60; discussion 1460-2
Because of its lack of ionizing radiation and excellent soft-tissue contrast, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is being increasingly used in the evaluation of acute abdominal pain in the pregnant patient. Roughly 2% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Although ectopic pregnancy is usually diagnosed on the basis of a combination of clinical, laboratory, and ultrasonographic findings, it occasionally is initially identified at MR imaging. Thus, it is imperative that the radiologist should be familiar with the variable appearance of ectopic pregnancy at MR imaging and should evaluate for ectopic pregnancy at any time when (a) a patient has positive results of a pregnancy test and (b) an intrauterine pregnancy is not definitively seen. Because of potential issues of fetal safety, a conservative approach should be used for MR imaging in pregnancy. An MR imaging protocol for the evaluation of possible appendicitis in pregnant women is detailed. Specific findings that can aid in the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy are the lack of an intrauterine pregnancy, isolated hemoperitoneum, tubal masses, hematosalpinx, and interstitial masses. In the differential diagnosis of acute abdominal pain in pregnancy, consideration should be given to the more unusual forms of ectopic pregnancy, such as angular pregnancy, cornual pregnancy, and abdominal pregnancy. Potential mimics of ectopic pregnancy include placental abnormalities, ovarian neoplasms, and corpus luteum cysts.

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