BACKGROUND. Ruptured ectopic pregnancy (REP) is a common gynaecological emergency in resource-poor settings, where laparotomy is
the standard treatment despite laparoscopic surgery being regarded as the optimal treatment. There is a lack of prospective randomised data
comparing laparoscopic surgery with laparotomy in the surgical management of women with REP.
OBJECTIVE. To compare operative laparoscopy with laparotomy in women with REP.
METHODS. This was a randomised parallel study. One hundred and forty women with suspected REP were randomised to undergo operative
laparoscopy or laparotomy. The outcome measures were operating time, hospital stay, pain scores and analgesic requirements, blood
transfusion, time to return to work, and time to full recovery.
RESULTS. Operating time was significantly longer in the laparoscopy group (67.3 v. 30.5 minutes, p<0.001). Duration of hospital stay, pain
scores and need for analgesia were significantly less in the laparoscopy group. Women in this group returned to work 8 days earlier and
their time to full recovery was significantly shorter compared with those in the laparotomy group. Significantly more women undergoing
laparotomy required blood transfusion than women in the laparoscopy group. In the latter group, 14.5% of women required blood
transfusion compared with 26.5% in the laparotomy group (p=0.01).
CONCLUSION. Operative laparoscopy in women treated for REP is feasible in a resource-poor setting and is associated with significantly less
morbidity and a quicker return to economic activity.