Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted in organs other than the uterus. In majority of cases it occurs in the fallopian tube. In rare instances the fertilized egg may attach in ovary, cervix or on intestine. Ectopic pregnancy never concludes in full term pregnancy. With an ectopic pregnancy the egg is not able to develop into a normal healthy fetus.
Ruptured ectopic pregnancy is a complication in which the fallopian tube is torn by the growing egg, leading to severe hemorrhage. The condition is extremely dangerous and life threatening and requires prompt medical and surgical intervention.
In a normal pregnancy, the eggs is fertilized in the fallopian tube and it then makes its way to get implanted in the inner walls of uterus. However, in ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg does not move in the uterus but remains in fallopian tube. It occurs when the fallopian tube is scarred or it is blocked.
Though not common, at least 2 percent of pregnant women have risk of ectopic pregnancy. If the egg grows in size it can damage the walls of fallopian tube ultimately causing rupture of the tube. Usually rupture occurs between 6th and 8th week of pregnancy, but it can also occur ahead or later than this period.
By knowing the signs and symptoms of ruptured ectopic pregnancy, patient can seek immediate emergency medical help.
Signs & Symptoms Of Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy
The rupture occurs more often spontaneously, rarely as a result of coitus or vigorous vaginal examination. Rupture of fallopian tube causes severe hemorrhage. This gives rise to various signs and symptoms.
- Pain: Sharp shooting and stabbing pain in one side of pelvis which is sudden in onset can be an indication of rupture, if the woman has short period of amenorrhea. The pain usually begins on one side, but gradually after few hours it can intensify and spread all over the pelvis.
- Pain in shoulder: The pain may be referred to shoulder and neck due to irritation of the under surface of diaphragm due to collection of blood in the peritoneal cavity. Such type of pain is sharp and agonizing and it is not relieved by massage or hot packs.
- Vaginal bleeding: In the beginning there may not be blood discharge from vagina, or it may be slight. But later on the bleeding may be heavy. The blood is bright red.
- Signs: Due to profuse internal bleeding, patient may look severely anemic and in shock. Her face turns pale and the skin is cold and clammy. Heart rate increases with severe drop in blood pressure.
- Abdomen and pelvis: There is diffuse tenderness over the abdomen and in pelvis. Patient may not allow you to touch her abdomen because of severe pain and tenderness.
- Sometimes dark blue discoloration around the umbilicus can be present due to collection of blood in the abdominal and pelvic cavity.
- Due to severe bleeding patient usually faints or feels extremely dizzy.
- The vagina is extremely tender due to internal hemorrhage.
Emergency Treatment For Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy
Several different tests such as ultrasound and CT scan help to diagnose the condition. Patient has to be hospitalized immediately in case of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. She is given intravenous fluids to raise the blood pressure and replenish lost fluids.
An emergency laparoscopic surgery or abdominal surgery may be required for managing the rupture. During surgery the doctor may have to remove whole fallopian tube to stop the bleeding. In case if the women has lost enough blood, she may require blood transfusion.