Current ultrasonographic criteria for miscarriage could lead to misdiagnosis, say researchers

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 14 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6665
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

The current guidance on using ultrasound scans to detect a miscarriage could lead to an incorrect diagnosis and should be changed, according to a series of four studies.

A miscarriage is often confirmed by ultrasonographic identification of a pregnancy sac or embryo in the uterus. Researchers writing in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology say that the cut off values for defining miscarriage might be unsafe and need to be revised (doi:10.1002/uog.10109).

One of the researchers, Tom Bourne from Imperial College London, said: “Currently there is a risk that some women seeking reassurance with pain or bleeding in early pregnancy may be told they have had a miscarriage and choose to undergo surgical or medical treatment when the pregnancy is in fact healthy.”

Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that on ultrasound an empty gestational …

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