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Ruptured ovarian ectopic pregnancy presenting with an acute abdomen
  1. Louise Dunphy1,
  2. Frances Wood1,
  3. Joanne Hallchurch2,
  4. Gill Douce2 and
  5. Shanthi Pinto1
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics, Leighton Hospital, Crewe, UK
  2. 2Department of Histo-Pathology, Royal Stoke University Hospital, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Staffordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Louise Dunphy; Louise.Dunphy{at}


An ectopic pregnancy occurs in 2% of all pregnancies. A primary ovarian ectopic (OP) is a rare entity and occurs in <2% of all ectopic gestations. It may present in those individuals who take ovulatory drugs, use an intrauterine device or have undergone in vitro fertilisation or embryo transfer. Multiparity and a younger age are other recognised risk factors. Diagnosing an OP pregnancy remains a challenge and it may be misdiagnosed as a bleeding luteal cyst, a haemorrhagic ovarian cyst or a tubal pregnancy by ultrasound scan. The diagnosis is often only established at laparoscopy following histopathological examination. A ruptured OP is a potentially life-threatening condition due to its potential for haemorrhage and hemodynamic collapse. Hence, early diagnosis is crucial to prevent serious morbidity and mortality. The authors present the case of a multiparous woman in her late 30s presenting with a seizure and lower abdominal pain at 6 weeks gestation. Her beta human chorionic gonadotropin was >9000 Miu/mL. A transvaginal ultrasound scan showed no evidence of an intrauterine pregnancy. There was free fluid in the pelvis. She was hemodynamically stable. She underwent a diagnostic laparoscopy, which showed hemoperitoneum and a ruptured left OP pregnancy. She underwent a left oophorectomy. Histology confirmed chorionic villi within the ovarian stroma. This case demonstrates the challenges in preoperative diagnosis of a ruptured OP pregnancy and acts as a cautionary reminder that individuals can present with hemodynamic stability. Rarely, as in this case, an OP pregnancy can occur without the presence of risk factors. Despite its rarity, a ruptured OP pregnancy should be considered in the differential diagnosis of women of reproductive age presenting to the emergency department with acute abdominal pain and a positive pregnancy test.

  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Emergency medicine

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  • Contributors LD: wrote the case report. FW: performed the literature review. SP: edited the paper. JH and GD provided the histopathology input and the histology slides from the case.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.