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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2014, Article ID 423708, 6 pages

Clinical Study
Predictors of Success of Different Treatment Modalities for
Management of Ectopic Pregnancy
Sümeyra Nergiz AvcioLlu,1 Sündüz Özlem Altinkaya,1 Mert Küçük,2
Selda Demircan Sezer,1 and Hasan Yüksel1

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine, Adnan Menderes University, 09010 Aydın, Turkey
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine, Mu˘gla Sıtkı Koc¸man University, 48000 Mu˘gla, Turkey


Correspondence should be addressed to S¨umeyra Nergiz Avcio˘glu;
Received 12 July 2014; Accepted 26 November 2014; Published 14 December 2014
Academic Editor: Thomas Herzog
Copyright © 2014 S¨umeyra Nergiz Avcio˘glu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.
Aim. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors affecting the success of different treatment modalities for the management
of ectopic pregnancy (EP). Methods. One hundred and ninety-seven patients with EP, were included in the study. Patients were
treated with either intramuscular methotrexate (Mtx) or surgical treatment. Results. Mtx was applied in 97 (49.2%) patients. In
67 patients (69.1%), a single dose of Mtx and in 30 patients (30.9%) a multiple dose of Mtx was applied. Forty-seven (70.14%)
patients were successfully treated with a single-dose Mtx. In the multiple-dose group, the success rate was 70% (21/30 patients). The
difference between the success rates was not statistically significant. When the initial serum ?hCG value was <1000 mIU/mL, the
overall success rate of Mtx treatment was determined to be 86.11%; however, the rate decreased to 42.3% when the ?hCG value was
>3000 mIU/mL. On the other hand, if the EP mass diameter was <25 mm, the success rate was 89.28% and decreased to 52.63%
when it was ≥25 mm. Conclusion. The results of the study showed that single-dose treatment with Mtx could be as successful as
multiple doses. Overall success of Mtx treatment depended on initial ?hCG value and EP mass diameter.

1. Introduction
Ectopic pregnancy (EP) is a potentially life-threatening condition and still the major cause of maternal mortality in the
first trimester of pregnancy. It accounts for approximately
10% of maternal deaths [1]. In most developed countries, the
incidence of EP has increased considerably over the last 20
years and now accounts for 1%-2% of all pregnancies [2–5].
Despite major advances, early diagnosis of EP is still a
challenge for clinicians [1, 6, 7]. In the past 20 years, the use
of sensitive ?hCG tests, high-resolution transvaginal ultrasound, and advances in laparoscopy (LS) have enabled the
detection of EP without tubal rupture. In the case of early
detection, the possibility and success of noninvasive medical
treatment as an alternative to surgical treatment increase [8].
EP has a significant detrimental effect on future fertility
and less than half of the women who experience EP will be
able to conceive again [5]. Thus, preserving the fertility of

women has been the main goal of treatment in EP for gynecologists and over the last five years systemic methotrexate
(Mtx) has been used for conservative treatment [9, 10]. In
recent studies on single-dose Mtx therapy, tubal patency rates
have been reported in excess of 80% and this is thought to be
appropriate for preserving the fertility of patients [11].
However, there is still controversy about which patients
will benefit from Mtx treatment. In the present research, we
aimed to investigate the predictors related to the success of
different treatment modalities for EP.

2. Materials and Methods
We enrolled patients with EP admitted to the Obstetrics and
Gynecology Clinic at the Adnan Menderes University School
of Medicine. The diagnosis was based on abnormally low
?hCG doubling rates less than every 48 hours or plateauing

53 ± 0.01 <0. In 67 (69.2%). If the ?hCG level decreased by 15% or more between days 4 and 7. and 2 patients (1%) with caesarian scar ectopic pregnancy.01 0.80 6.28 66. and in 3 patients (1. Statistical analysis was conducted using the Fisher exact test.158 0. Results are presented as mean ± SEM or percentile. as well as repeated transvaginal ultrasonographic examinations and measurements of blood pressure and pulse. an EP mass was observed in the right salpinx.44 ± 1. Data analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for Social Science 18.14%) out of 67 patients were successfully treated with single-dose Mtx. and in 6 (3%) in the cornual region. Each patient gave formal consent for Mtx therapy.57%) 22/39 (56. We injected another Mtx dose when ?hCG decreased by less than 15% or a plateau was reached in serum ?hCG levels after Mtx treatment. 3. The results are given in mIU/mL.060 0. Student’s ? test.1%) cases.1.01 0. gravity. Mtx was used for conservative treatment.17 ± 1. and chi-square as appropriate.8 years (range 18–48). the presence of blood in the abdomen cavity that were confirmed with ultrasound. Women presenting with acute or severe abdominal pain were immediately treated surgically. Data including age. In 97 (49.2%) patients. IL). diameter of EP mass.43%) 17/39 (43. ?hCG levels were measured using AxSYM Microparticle Enzyme Immunoassay (Abbot. 3 EP: ectopic pregnancy. a single-dose Mtx was applied and in 30 (30.93 ± 6. Results In the present research.19 1.85%) 24/74 (32. Chicago. Surgical intervention was performed in cases of tubal rupture and in patients whose ?hCG levels decreased by less than 15% or a plateau was reached in serum ?hCG after Mtx treatment doses. localization of EP.05 ± 0.74 2.18 ± 0.073 <0. and type of surgical procedures were also collected.94 ± 0.97 ± 0.27 30. IL). increased abdominal pain. Abbot Park. In 32 patients (16.79 ± 0.86%) 25. 3 patients (1. In the double-dose group.5%) who were detected with ovarian. Clinical characteristics of rupture and nonrupture groups are presented in Table 1.2%) patients LT was applied for EP. 2.93 ± 0. the success rate was (21/30 patients) .92 10. 197 women diagnosed as having EP were included. 2 ?hCG: beta human chorionic gonadotropin.12 10. Statistical Analysis. in 65 (33%) in the left salpinx.02 0.8 11.69 ± 0. Thus.20 ± 0. ? < 0. In 68 (34. In 86 (43. The first injection was performed according to the protocol set down by Stovall and Ling [12].7%) patients. the treatment protocol was accepted as successful.15%) 50/74 (67.99 6.80 264. no mass occurrence related to EP was determined.36 264.46 7.01 0. The medical data was collected from the patients’ medical histories and the biochemical laboratory. 47 (70. Tubal rupture was diagnosed on the basis of hemodynamic and clinical signs such as a rapid drop in blood pressure. surgery was not performed.07 ± 1.961 0.83 SEM: standard error of mean.49 ± 0.5%) patients. ∗ statistical significance ? < 0. We measured ?hCG levels every week until they were lower than 15 mIU/mL.15%) 12/28 (42.09 9.12 34.9%) cases a double-dose Mtx was applied. parity.83 7.56 ± 0.02 <0.24 0.0 (SPSS.13 0.02 10/56 (17.61 ± 5. Mtx was applied in 97 (49. Patients received 50 mg/m2 Mtx. The mean age of women registered with EP was 30.88 ± 0. Rupture of EP was observed in 67 (34%) of patients.46 ± 0. Those who did not require an immediate surgical intervention underwent repeated blood tests for ?hCG levels and a complete blood cell count.32 0. and a decrease in hemoglobin values.05 was statistically significant.16 ± 0.31 ± 10. Age (years) Gravidity Parity Hemoglobin (g/dL) Hematocrit (%) Platelet (×109 /L) White blood cell count (×109 /L) Neutrophil % Neutrophil count (×109 /L) ?hCG2 (0 day) (mIU/mL) <1000 (mIU/mL) 1000–3000 (mIU/mL) 3000–10000 (mIU/mL) >10000 (mIU/mL) Diameter of EP3 mass (mm) Endometrial thickness (mm) 1 Group 1 (? = 67) EP rupture (+) (SEM)1 Group 2 (? = 130) EP rupture (−) (SEM)1 ?∗ 31.58%) 16/28 (57.67 ± 0. in 32 (16. levels with no evidence of an intrauterine pregnancy or sonographic identification of a gestational sac outside the uterus.45 46/56 (82.51 30.05.2 Obstetrics and Gynecology International Table 1: Clinical parameters of rupture and nonrupture groups in EP. The odds ratio (OR) of the main outcome was calculated with 95% CI.5%) with cervical.2%) patients LS was applied for EP.58 ± 0.94 ± 0.48 73. women with EP in the first group were treated with surgical methods.49 2.14%) 38. All women diagnosed with unruptured EP undergoing the conservative treatment were included in the second group as a comparative method.

47 47/67 (70. the operations were preserving tubal integrity like salpingostomy. ∗ statistical significance ? < 0. 70%.46 32. The flow chart of the study is seen in Figure 1.87 ± 486. 29 women required surgical management. ? value = 0.5%).45 5615.18 6. partial salpingectomy or tubal milking was performed in 16 (8.73 ± 0. The diameter of the EP mass (mean ± SEM) was significantly shorter in Group 1 (15.64 ± 597.227 0. A salpingectomy was performed in 96 (48.Obstetrics and Gynecology International 3 197 patients with EP Mtx was applied in 97 100 patients were (49.59 in Group 1.77 ± 2.56 ± 1431. partial ovarian resection in 3 (1.14%) success 30 (30.59 2533.05. Based on the findings. 21 patients were treated with LT and 8 with LS. salpingoophorectomy in 9 (4.21) (? < 0.024 0.5%). 4. Group 2 (? = 30): patients with EP having a multipledose Mtx treatment (Table 2).94 ± 0. 2 ?hCG: beta human chorionic gonadotropin.71 2255. which was significantly lower than in Group 2 (6610.10%. patients receiving Mtx treatment were also divided into two different groups as follows: Group 1 (? = 67): patients with EP having a single-dose Mtx treatment.46 ± 1333.28 ± 425.871 0.72 2.10 ± 1485.010 0.01).64 ± 597.1%). surgical procedure was not performed. and cornual resection in 5 (2.77 ± 0. Age (years) Gravidity Parity ?hCG2 (day 0) (mIU/mL) ?hCG2 (1st day) (mIU/mL) ?hCG2 (4th day) (mlU/mL) ?hCG2 (7th day) (mIU/mL) Diameter of EP3 mass (mm) Endometrial thickness (mm) Overall success rate (%) 1 Single-dose Mtx1 (? = 67) Multiple-dose Mtx1 (? = 30) ?∗ 31.94 6575.19 1.18) compared to Group 2 (32.13 ± 0.76 21/30 (70%) 0.024). The demographic and clinical characteristics of patients affecting the success of Mtx treatment in EP are seen in Table 3.9%) multiple -dose Mtx 21/30 (70%) success 21 patients with LT.7%) patients.62.1%) single -dose Mtx 47/67 (70. In 68 (34. Discussion The present study evaluated the factors affecting the success rates of Mtx treatment in the management of EP in our .62 6336.039 <0.61 15.96 ± 3.19 6610.01 0. 8 patients with LS 129 patients treated by surgery Figure 1: Flow of participants through the study. The overall success rate of Mtx was 70.988 Mtx: methotrexate.013 0.95 2344.5%) patients.77 ± 2.78 2.14%) 29.6%). Table 2: Comparison of patient characteristics between single-dose and multiple-dose treatments with Mtx. The mean baseline (initial) level of ?hCG was 2978. 3 EP: ectopic pregnancy. Of all participants.11 ± 459. 129 patients were treated with surgery.24 0. Only in 15 patients EP rupture was diagnosed intraoperatively.401 0.21 6.80 ± 0.685 0. Among the patients treated with Mtx.02 ± 0.62 ± 0.2%) of patients treated by surgery 67 (69.56 ± 1431.96 ± 3.70 ± 1557.11 2978.67 ± 0.

11%) 22 (84.174 31 (86. while. As the serum ?hCG measurement was the mainstay of a rapid and early pregnancy diagnosis and an accepted biochemical marker for successful trophoblastic implantation [19]. the crude overall success rate in 1327 women was estimated as 88. in the present study.36%) 6. only the initial serum ?hCG level and the diameter of the EP mass were the factors affecting the success of both single. important issues affecting the success rate of Mtx have been determined in the present study.61%) 11 (42. we did not find such an association. Therefore. in the present study. This is because the pain after Mtx treatment could be due to tubal abortion or stretching of the tube by a hematoma. there was no difference in the success rates between the groups. Lastly. among patients treated with Mtx.4 Obstetrics and Gynecology International Table 3: Demographic and clinical characteristics of all patients treated with Mtx in EP.01 <0. it was very difficult . women with a pretreatment ?hCG level of 3000–4000 mIU/mL have a greater probability for surgery or multiple-dose treatment [18].01 0. There have been many reasons for the increased ratio of LT in the present research. the predictors of success of Mtx in our study were low ?hCG values and an adnexal mass diameter of less than 25 mm.8% (1181 of 1327). Eskandar demonstrated that when the initial serum ?hCG value was greater than 2000 mIU/mL. an increase in the treatment failure group with an advanced maternal age ≥35 years was noted [16]. we have concluded that the medical treatment of EP is a practical treatment. There have been studies in the literature comparing single. First of all.37%) 14 (63.72%) 9 (47.29 50 (89. In a previous study [21.89 ± 0.10 30. In the present study.24 ± 0.05 0.70 ± 436. the laparoscopic surgical treatment was the selected method for patients who had a stable hemodynamic condition. Age (years) Gravidity Parity ?hCG2 (day 0) <1000 (mIU/mL) 1000–3000 (mIU/mL) 3000–10000 (mIU/mL) >10000 (mIU/mL) ?hCG2 (1st day) (mIU/mL) ?hCG2 (4th day) (mIU/mL) ?hCG2 (7th day) (mIU/mL) Diameter of EP3 mass (mm) <25 mm 25–35 mm >35 mm Endometrial thickness (mm) 1 Group 1 (? = 68) (success group) (SEM1 -%) Group 2 (? = 29) (failure group) (SEM1 -%) ?∗ 30.22 ± 486. In addition.06 ± 1245. the medical failure rate increased.92 5 (13. The success rate has been reported to be between 75% and 96% in properly selected patients [9].64%) 7.70 2 <0. and in another 63% LT was performed. Some of these concluded that multiple-dose Mtx treatment was more successful than a single dose [13] while some determined no difference [14.4 cm should be closely monitored for treatment failure [17].27 ± 1. 29 women required surgical management.42 7434 ± 1668. differentiating “separation pain” due to tubal abortion from pain due to tubal rupture was difficult and led to early surgical interventions.1%.19 2187. However.63%) 8 (36. seemed to have an importance in the selection of surgical method. In our study.81 1584.06 0. The ratio in the present study was lower than the data in the literature.and multiple-dose Mtx treatments.05.41 ± 0.77 ± 0. in the present study.89%) 4 (15. There have been a great many published studies in the literature about Mtx success rates. ?hCG: beta human chorionic gonadotropin.696 0.06 3. similar to the literature [23].19%) was higher than the data in the literature. First of all. it was determined that an embryonic sac diameter greater than 3. In the present study. of course.66 ± 298. Also.70 2. Similar to these studies in the literature.16 0.45 ± 0.22 0. Similarly. patients with EP were treated with LS or LT as surgical treatment.48 6 (10. The surgeon’s own skills.34 1.229 3 SEM: standard error of mean.68 2446. It was determined that the overall success rate was 70. However. the preferred laparoscopic method was applied only in 26% of patients. 22].30%) 4 (36%) 2535.150 0.7%) 5 (64%) 6463. in some series.01 0. ∗ clinic.39%) 15 (57. Statistical significance ? < 0. Only in 15 patients EP rupture was diagnosed intraoperatively. The rate of LT (75. Fear of rupture misleads clinicians to operate early on unruptured ectopic pregnancies that would otherwise resolve with medical management [20].79 ± 1688. In a review article published in 2003.54 ± 0. 15].28%) 10 (52. We think that this might be due to the time wasted in referral procedures. EP: ectopic pregnancy.and multiple-dose Mtx treatment. 21 patients were treated with LT and 8 with LS.10 ± 0. one important issue to emphasize is that clinicians must be careful in deciding on an operative treatment for patients having pain who are under Mtx treatment.

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