Unfortunately the pregnancy is always going to be lost if it is ectopic.

If an ectopic pregnancy is suspected, the woman should attend the hospital. An ultrasound scan and a pregnancy test will be done. If the scan shows an empty uterus but the pregnancy test is positive, an ectopic pregnancy is likely although the pregnancy may be early or a miscarriage might have occurred. The best ultrasound scan is done with a vaginal probe but it is not always possible to see an ectopic on scan.

If the woman is well and not in severe pain, she may be investigated with a blood hormone test done repeatedly over two to three days to establish whether there is an ectopic or not.

If an early diagnosis can be achieved before rupture of the tube then surgery or treatment with drugs can be offered. This allows a speedier recovery and may increase the woman’s chance of future fertility.

The surgery is done laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) and the tube is either removed (salpingectomy) or the ectopic is removed leaving the tube (salpingostomy) .

Alternatively, the drug methotrexate, that destroys rapidly dividing cells such as pregnancy cells, can be used.

If rupture of the tube is suspected abdominal surgery normally laparoscopy (keyhole) surgery or occasionally open surgery is performed to remove the ectopic.