Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1524–1542 | Cite as

Pitfalls and tips in the diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy

  • E. Mausner GeffenEmail author
  • C. Slywotzky
  • G. Bennett
Pictorial Essay


Women of reproductive age with pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, and a positive pregnancy test often require evaluation with pelvic ultrasound. In these situations, the primary role of pelvic ultrasound is to differentiate an ectopic pregnancy from either a normal or abnormal intrauterine pregnancy. While an accurately performed and interpreted pelvic ultrasound results in rapid diagnosis and management, numerous diagnostic pitfalls can lead to negative outcomes. Therefore, familiarity with the appropriate laboratory tests, sonographic technique, and imaging features of ectopic pregnancy is essential for all radiologists. We present a review of ectopic pregnancy cases from our institution with attention to common pitfalls and troubleshooting tips for physicians who perform and interpret pelvic ultrasounds. We also present recently published literature to aid in the management of first trimester pregnancy.


Ectopic pregnancy Pregnancy of unknown location Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Statement of informed consent was not applicable since the manuscript does not contain any patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyNYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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