Birmingham - If the ultrasound result is uncertain, simple determination of the progesterone concentration in the blood can clarify the vital status of pregnancy. This is the result of meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2012; 345: e6077).
One third of all women experience pain or vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. The diagnostic procedure today includes transvaginal sonography, which can usually, but not always, clarify the vital status of the embryo. A simple additional examination in an unclear situation is the determination of the progesterone concentration in the serum. Its usefulness is controversial among gynecologists, but the results of the meta-analysis by Ioannis Gallos from the University of Birmingham seem clear.
The doctor evaluated the results of 26 cohort studies with 9,436 women who examined the value of the progesterone measurement. If, in this case, the ultrasound examination does not give clear result, drop in serum progesterone to below 3.2 to 6 ng / ml rules out viable pregnancy with 99.2 percent certainty, reports Gallos.
The progesterone determination but could not distinguish between an ectopic pregnancy, an early normal pregnancy or miscarriage. Transvaginal sonography is therefore still necessary. Without it, the error rate of the progesterone determination increases.