Background: Pregnancy of unknown location (PUL) is defined as the absence of intrauterine
or extrauterine sac and Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin levels (β-HCG) above the discriminatory
zone of 1500 mIU/ml. It should be noted that PUL is not always an ectopic; however,
by measuring the trends of serum β-HCG, we can determine the outcome of a PUL.
Objective: This study aims to identify the various trends of β-HCG levels in early pregnancy and
evaluate the role of β-HCG in the management strategy.
Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study of pregnant women suspected of early
pregnancy. Cases were classified as having a pregnancy of unknown location (PUL) by transvaginal
ultrasound and ß -HCG greater than 1000 mIU/ml. Expectant management was done until there was
a definite outcome. All the collected data were analyzed by employing the chi-square test using
SPSS version 20.
Results: Among the 1200 women who had early first trimester scans, 70 women who fulfilled our
criteria of PUL and ß -HCG > 1000 mIU/ml were recruited in this study. In our study, the mean age
of the participants was 30±5.6yrs, and the overall mean serum ß -HCG was 3030±522 mIU/ml. The
most common outcome observed was an ectopic pregnancy, 47% in our study. We also found that
the rate of failing pregnancy was 27%, and that of intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) was 25%. Overall,
in PUL patients diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy, 9% behaved like IUP, and 4% had an atypical
trend in their ß -HCG. Those who had an IUP, 11% had a suboptimal increase in ß-HCG.
Conclusion: PUL rate in our unit was 6%. The majority of the outcome of PUL was ectopic in our
study. Every case of PUL should be managed based on the initial ß -HCG values, clinical assessments
and upon the consent of the patient.