Hospital referrals with possible ectopic pregnancy: Prospective observational study

Alison Crocker, S. Arulkumaran, R. Hayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Women of reproductive age with abdominal pain represent a diagnostic challenge, especially in primary care where the decision whether to refer to hospital needs to be taken. The diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy hinges on a combination of clinical findings and a positive urinary pregnancy test (UPT). We investigated whether non-pregnant patients with abdominal pain were being referred inappropriately to hospital to exclude ectopic pregnancy because a UPT had not been performed or had been interpreted incorrectly. In this study, of the 81 patients referred by their general practitioners (GPs) on suspicion of ectopic, 38 were not pregnant on admission and only 46% of the UPT results in hospital agreed with those reported to the GP by the patient prior to referral. Given the high sensitivity and specificity of correctly interpreted UPTs, our findings suggest that pregnancy should be confirmed before hospital referral.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-181
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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