Peer Reviewed





Background: Heterotopic pregnancy is a rare event consisting of simultaneous intrauterine and extrauterine pregnancies. If undiagnosed, it is probable the patient will present to an Emergency Department and require emergent care.

Case Report: A 25 year-old woman arrived at the Emergency Department at 14 weeks gestation reporting sharp abdominal cramping and pelvic pain with a history of current tobacco use. Trans-abdominal ultrasound revealed a viable intrauterine pregnancy consistent with 14 weeks, closed cervix with free fluid noted in pelvis, and no evidence of ovarian torsion. Over the next three hours, the patient’s condition deteriorated and hemoglobin levels dropped. The surgeon on call was consulted and suspected ruptured hepatic adenoma versus hepatic hemangioma versus visceral aneurysm. A laparotomy was emergently performed with supraceliac control of aorta to permit resuscitation, and the right and left upper quadrants of the abdominal cavity were investigated without discovery of bleeding source. Further investigation revealed ruptured left tubal ectopic pregnancy and a partial salpingectomy was performed.

Conclusions: This case serves as a clinical reminder that while heterotopic pregnancy is thought to be rare, when a patient presents with known intrauterine pregnancy and abdominal pain, heterotopic pregnancy should be included in the differential diagnosis. More common use of assisted reproductive technology may increase the incidence of heterotopic pregnancies, making familiarity with the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for this condition important.


heterotopic pregnancy; hemorrhagic shock

Total Pages

5 pages

Financial Disclosure

The authors report no conflict of interest.


Copyright © 2014 Hannah R. Hoffman, Kristina A. Lynch, Hayden L. Smith, Michael C. Mintzer, and Sheryl M. Sahr

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.