A bedside, non-invasive, simple test that could help rule out ectopic pregnancy?

#ThursdayThoughts

As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research-related information.  The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey.  Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

A bedside, non-invasive, simple test that could help rule out ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, commonly inside of a fallopian tube. It can be very dangerous if not treated.  At times it can be difficult to tell if a patient has an ectopic pregnancy. One of the more common presentations of ectopic pregnancy is bleeding in early pregnancy, however, this can also occur during a normal pregnancy.  Oftentimes we will request patients with bleeding to come into the office for an ultrasound, as this can often confirm the location of the pregnancy. There is a small chance that someone can have an intrauterine pregnancy as well as an ectopic, but this is rare. When we do not see a definite uterine pregnancy, blood levels of pregnancy hormone are obtained and a Karman biopsy can be performed. A Karman biopsy is a biopsy of uterine tissue and can help rule out ectopic pregnancy.

A recent study was done using a test that checks for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels in vaginal blood. The study checked for AFP in patients undergoing miscarriage, diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, and patients who were having non-pregnancy related vaginal bleeding. The test found no AFP in all the samples that came from ectopic pregnancies. It detected AFP in all the samples of patients undergoing D&C or having miscarriages.  There was one instance that AFP was detected in a non-pregnant patient. (Michelle Volosky, MBBS, et al. Fertility and Sterility. Vol 116, 2021 September; Issue 3: pages E6-E7)

In conclusion, the test was able to accurately detect AFP, therefore showing the presence of fetal tissue, in vaginal blood. This test could provide an important but simple, non-invasive way to rule out ectopic pregnancy in a patient with a pregnancy of an unknown location. This was a fairly small study and more research needs to be done but it is a promising start.  

For more information regarding evaluation and treatment options that are available, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii 808-545-2800 or visit our website at https://www.ivfcenterhawaii.com

ectopic pregnancy test

Back to blog home

Latest News & Events

February 21, 2023

August 15, 2023

Our hearts are with Maui

Read More

April 27, 2020

Dr. John Frattarelli Shares his Personal Fertility Story

Read More

May 23, 2024

Kamaria – Our June Baby of the Month

Read More