Research Article

Predictive value of plasma human chorionic gonadotrophin beta subunit in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy after in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.294.6573.667 (Published 14 March 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:667
  1. S H Okamoto,
  2. D L Healy,
  3. L M Morrow,
  4. P A Rogers,
  5. A O Trounson,
  6. E C Wood

    Abstract

    A study was conducted aimed at establishing a range of plasma concentrations of the beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotrophin that might predict ectopic pregnancy after in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer. From May 1984 to February 1986, 161 consecutive pregnancies at the Monash University in vitro fertilisation unit were analysed by determining plasma beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations between two and 10 weeks after oocyte collection. Eighty eight ongoing singleton pregnancies, 25 multiple pregnancies, 27 first trimester spontaneous abortions, 12 anembryonic pregnancies, and nine ectopic pregnancies resulted from these conception cycles. When compared with values for ongoing singleton pregnancies two weeks after oocyte collection plasma beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations in ectopic pregnancies were significantly lower (p less than 0.05; Wilcoxon rank sum test). Two weeks after oocyte collection all plasma beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations in the set of ectopic pregnancies were below 30.6 IU/l, which corresponded to the lower quartile (25th percentile) of beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentrations in ongoing singleton pregnancies. The beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentration corresponding to the lower quartile of ongoing singleton pregnancies at each week of gestation was used to derive the predictive value of various statistics in detecting ectopic pregnancy in patients after in vitro fertilisation. The sensitivity, specificity, predictive value of a positive result, predictive value of a negative result, and efficiency of a single plasma beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentration in predicting ectopic pregnancy were 100%, 68.1%, 16.7%, 100%, and 70%, respectively, two weeks after oocyte collection. These results suggest that a single determination of the plasma beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentration beginning 14 days after oocyte collection is clinically useful in predicting the outcome of pregnancy achieved by in vitro fertilisation. Ectopic pregnancy after in vitro fertilisation is more likely when beta human chorionic gonadotrophin concentration is below the lower quartile of values in ongoing singleton pregnancies achieved by the technique.