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Risk Factors Identified for Ectopic Pregnancy

Previous ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease increases risk

MONDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher in women who have had an ectopic pregnancy in the past or who have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, but is lower in women under the age of 25 years or those who have had an induced abortion, according to a study published in the July issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Kurt T. Barnhart, M.D., and colleagues from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia examined the risk factors for women undergoing treatment for symptomatic early pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancy, intrauterine pregnancy or spontaneous abortions between 1990 and 1999.

The researchers found that the risk of ectopic pregnancy was higher if there had been one or more prior ectopic pregnancies (odds ratio 2.98 for one prior ectopic pregnancy to 16.04, for two or more), a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (OR, 1.5), pain (OR, 1.42) or vaginal bleeding at presentation (OR, 1.42), or human chorionic gonadotropin levels ranging from 501 to 2000 mIU/mL (OR, 1.73). However, the risk of ectopic pregnancy was lower if the woman was under 25 years old (OR, 0.59) or had a history of induced abortion (OR, 0.58), according to the study.

"Evaluation of women with a symptomatic early pregnancy confirms and refutes some of the classical risk factors for ectopic pregnancy," the authors write. "Knowledge of historical and clinical factors associated with ectopic pregnancy may aid in early diagnosis," they conclude.

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