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January 30, 1937

THE DIAGNOSIS OF ECTOPIC PREGNANCY

Author Affiliations

DES MOINES, IOWA; PHOENIX, ARIZ.

JAMA. 1937;108(5):371-374. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780050027009
Abstract

Ectopic pregnancy is far from uncommon. According to Schumann,1 it occurs once in every 300 pregnancies. As the Census Bureau records births but not miscarriages in the United States, it is possible only to estimate the actual number of ectopic pregnancies, but it is safe to say that more than 10,000 occur annually in this country.

There is an appalling mortality of from 5 to 10 per cent or more, and its reduction is largely dependent on sound early diagnosis. Unfortunately, of all gynecologic conditions, there is none involving so many diagnostic errors. Even in well equipped and efficiently supervised institutions, as many as 30 per cent of all ectopic pregnancies are surprises, discovered only during operation.

If this occurs in hospitals with every opportunity for close observation, even a greater number of cases must remain unrecognized in general practice. This may explain the fact that many busy practitioners

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