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Ectopic Pregnancy and Miscarriage

Diagnosis and Initial Management in Early Pregnancy of Ectopic Pregnancy and Miscarriage

NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 154

National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health (UK).

London: RCOG; December 2012.
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The guideline covers diagnosis of early pregnancy loss, including the use of ultrasound scanning and biochemical testing. Investigations incur costs and the use of serial measurements may delay decision making. The guideline includes guidance on when senior and/or specialist advice should be sought in order to avoid errors and unnecessary delay.

Treatment for threatened miscarriage has been offered by many clinicians over the years, although it is not freely available to all women. Even though progesterone/progestogen is not licensed for this purpose in the UK, it is commonly prescribed in many countries. The guideline examines the evidence for the risks and benefits of this treatment.

The clinical and cost effectiveness of expectant, surgical and medical management for miscarriage and surgical and medical treatment of ectopic pregnancy are considered, with reviews looking at both the risks and benefits of each strategy in terms of clinical and psychological outcomes. Cost effectiveness is an extremely important component of any guideline, in order to ensure that the limited resources of the National Health Service are used to maximise health benefits for its users. The final advice and selection of first line treatment takes this into account.

The guideline does not cover pregnancy after the first trimester (after 12 completed weeks of pregnancy). It also does not deal with unusual conditions that present with pain and bleeding, such as hydatidiform mole, which require a different form of treatment. Similarly, it does not consider recurrent miscarriage, as this requires more specific investigation and management.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this publication, the publisher can give no guarantee for information about drug dosage and application thereof contained in this book. In every individual case the respective user must check current indications and accuracy by consulting other pharmaceutical literature and following the guidelines laid down by the manufacturers of specific products and the relevant authorities in the country in which they are practising.

This guideline has been fully funded by NICE. Healthcare professionals are expected to take it fully into account when exercising their clinical judgement. However, the guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient.

Implementation of this guidance is the responsibility of local commissioners and/or providers.

Copyright © 2012, National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher or, in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK [www.cla.co.uk]. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the terms stated here should be sent to the publisher at the UK address printed on this page.

The use of registered names, trademarks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant laws and regulations and therefore for general use.

PMID: 23638497

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