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Ruptured ovarian ectopic pregnancy presenting with an acute abdomen


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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