Background: To investigate the use of uterine artery embolization (UAE) to manage ectopic pregnancies that are refractory to systemic methotrexate (MTX) therapy and plagued by persistently high serum β-human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) levels and vaginal bleeding. The safety and efficacy of UAE were addressed. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review was conducted for thirteen patients (mean age 35.2 years; range 28–41 years), who were treated between December 2006 and June 2016. Each was subjected to UAE due to persistently high serum β-hCG levels and vaginal bleeding after systemic MTX therapy for ectopic pregnancy. Embolic agents used were non-spherical polyvinyl alcohol or gelatin sponge particles. Post-treatment follow-up was performed by monitoring for clinical signs of vaginal bleeding, serum β-hCG testing, and transvaginal US. Outcomes were technical success, clinical success, and complications. Results: Median follow-up period was 172.5 days (range 30–600 days). Technical success was achieved in all 13 patients (100%). In 10 patients, vaginal bleeding resolved after one UAE attempt (clinical success 76.0%). Rebleeding in other three (23.1%) was controlled through repeat UAE. Seven patients (53.8%) had additional dilatation and curettage to remove gestational sac remnants. All ectopic pregnancies were successfully treated by UAE, with normalization of serum β-hCG levels during follow-up monitoring (P = 0.01). Uterine preservation was achieved in all 13 patients, without major procedural complications. Conclusion: UAE appears safe and effective as treatment of ectopic pregnancies marked by persistently high serum β-hCG levels and vaginal bleeding after systemic MTX treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine