A new minimally invasive treatment for cesarean scar pregnancy and cervical pregnancy

Ilan E. Timor-Tritsch, Ana Monteagudo, Terri Ann Bennett, Christine Foley, Joanne Ramos, Andrea Kaelin Agten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background Cesarean scar pregnancy and cervical pregnancy are unrelated forms of pathological pregnancies carrying significant diagnostic and treatment challenges, with a wide range of treatment effectiveness and complication rates ranging from 10% to 62%. At times, life-saving hysterectomy and uterine artery embolization are required to treat complications. Based on our previous success with using a single-balloon catheter for the treatment of cesarean scar pregnancy after local injection of methotrexate, we evaluated the use of a double-balloon catheter to terminate the pregnancy while preventing bleeding without any additive treatment. This was a retrospective study. Objectives The objective of the study was to describe the placement of a cervical ripening double-balloon catheter as a novel, minimally invasive treatment in patients with cesarean scar and cervical pregnancies to terminate the pregnancy and at the same time prevent bleeding by compressing the blood supply of the gestational sac. Study Design Patients with diagnosed, live cervical pregnancy and cesarean scar pregnancy between 6 and 8 weeks’ gestation were considered for the office-based treatment. Paracervical block with 1% lidocaine was administered in 3 patients for pain control. Insertion of the catheter and inflation of the upper balloon were done under transabdominal ultrasound guidance. The lower (pressure) balloon was inflated opposite the gestational sac under transvaginal ultrasound guidance. After an hour, the area of the sac was scanned. When fetal cardiac activity was absent and no bleeding was noted, patients were discharged. After 2-3 days, a follow-up appointment was scheduled for possible catheter removal. Serial ultrasound (US) and serum human chorionic gonadotropin were followed weekly or as needed. Results Three live cervical pregnancies and 7 live cesarean scar pregnancies were successfully treated. Median gestational age at treatment was 6 6/7 weeks (range 6 1/7 through 7 4/7 weeks). Patients’ acceptance for the double-balloon treatment was high in spite of the initial low abdominal pressure felt at the inflation of the balloons. All but 1 patient noted vaginal spotting at the follow-up appointment. Only 1 patient experienced bleeding of dark blood. The balloons were in place for a median of 3 days (range, 1–5 days). Median time from treatment to the total drop of human chorionic gonadotropin was 49 days (range, 28–97 days). Conclusion The double balloon is a successful, minimally invasive and well-tolerated single treatment for cervical pregnancy and cesarean scar pregnancy. This simple treatment method has 4 main advantages: it effectively stops embryonic cardiac activity, prevents bleeding complications, does not require any additional invasive therapies, and is familiar to obstetricians-gynecologists who use the same cervical ripening catheters for labor induction. Its wider application, however, has to be validated on a larger patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351.e1-351.e8
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cervical pregnancy
  • cesarean scar pregnancy
  • cesarean scar pregnancy treatment
  • double cervical ripening balloon
  • early pregnancy
  • ultrasound


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