To compare resources used in the medical and laparoscopic treatment of unruptured ectopic pregnancy.
We prospectively recorded all the medical resources required in the treatment of unruptured ectopic pregnancy. The study period ranged from January 1, 1995 to June 30, 1998. Single-dose intramuscular methotrexate injections were administered in 55 women (group I). This therapeutic option was provided on an outpatient basis in small EP (β-HCG level < 5000 IU/L and hematosalpinx diameter < 3 cm). Serial clinical controls and biologic tests were performed until bHCG became negative. Forty women underwent a laparoscopic salpingostomy because they refused the methotrexate regimen or had “social” contra-indications (ie, predictable difficulties in the follow-up) (group II). Twenty-one patients underwent conservative laparoscopic treatment because of “medical” contraindications to methotrexate (group III). We recorded the resources used with the outpatient and inpatient treatment in each group (methotrexate consumption, operating room acts, length of hospital stay, clinical examinations, biological tests, and sonograms during the follow-up).
We observed similar cure rates in each group, but it took significantly longer for β-HCG to become negative in group 1. However, hospitalization was significantly less often required, and the length of hospital stay was shorter in this group. But length of follow-up, number of office visits, biological tests, sonograms, and subsequent readmissions were significantly more frequent after methotrexate. Despite more severe clinical presentations for patients in group III, we didn't find any significant differences in the hospital resources used in this group in comparison with those used in group II.
The outpatient methotrexate option may result in low consumption of resources for a hospital because most of the follow-up can be performed by city practitioners and laboratories. For the laparoscopic option, efforts should be made to reduce the postoperative hospital stay.