Impact of point-of-care ultrasound on treatment time for ectopic pregnancy

Bethsabee S. Stone, Krithika M. Muruganandan, Melinda M. Tonelli, Julianne N. Dugas, Ivy E. Verriet, Joseph R. Pare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is useful in the evaluation of early pregnancy by confirming intrauterine pregnancy and recognizing hemorrhage from ectopic pregnancy. We sought to determine whether transabdominal POCUS by itself or in conjunction with consultative radiology ultrasound (RADUS), reduces Emergency Department (ED) treatment time for patients with ectopic pregnancy requiring operative care, when compared to RADUS alone. A secondary objective was to determine whether the incorporation of POCUS reduces time to operative care for patients with ruptured ectopic pregnancy specifically, when compared to RADUS alone. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients admitted for operative management of ectopic pregnancy. We excluded patients with known ectopic pregnancy and/or imaging prior to arriving to the treatment area, found not to have an ectopic pregnancy, or did not undergo operative care. Descriptive statistics, classical and nonparametric statistical analysis, and linear regression were performed. Results: There were 220 patients admitted with ectopic pregnancy, 111 met exclusion criteria, yielding 109 for analysis. Of 109, 36 received POCUS (23/36 also had RADUS), while 73 received RADUS only. Among the POCUS group 31/36 (86%) were classified as ruptured versus 47/73 (64%) in the RADUS group. The average ED treatment time in the POCUS group for all admitted ectopic pregnancies was 157.9 min (standard deviation [SD] 101.3) versus 206.3 min (SD 76.6) in the RADUS group (p = 0.0141). The median time to operating room (OR) for ruptured ectopic pregnancies was 203.0 min (interquartile range [IQR] 159.0) in the POCUS group versus 293.0 min (IQR 139.0) in the RADUS group (p = 0.0002). Regression analysis of the primary outcome was limited by multiple interactions and sample size. When controlling for race, positive shock index and ED visit time, POCUS was found to be associated with a significantly shorter time to OR among ruptured ectopic pregnancies compared to RADUS (p = 0.0052). Conclusion: Compared to RADUS alone, incorporation of POCUS was associated with significantly faster ED treatment time for all ectopic pregnancies and significantly faster time to OR for ruptured ectopic pregnancies, even when combined with RADUS. When controlling for clinical differences, time to OR was still faster for patients who underwent POCUS. The integration of POCUS should be considered to expedite care for patients with ectopic pregnancy requiring operative care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ectopic
  • Point-of-care
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiology
  • Rupture
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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