Prediction of Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy Using Offline Analysis of 3-Dimensional Transvaginal Ultrasonographic Data Sets: An Interobserver and Diagnostic Accuracy Study

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To assess interobserver reproducibility in detecting tubal ectopic pregnancies by reading data sets from 3-dimensional (3D) transvaginal ultrasonography (TVUS) and comparing it with real-time 2-dimensional (2D) TVUS.


Images were initially classified as showing pregnancies of unknown location or tubal ectopic pregnancies on real time 2D TVUS by an experienced sonologist, who acquired 5 3D volumes. Data sets were analyzed offline by 5 observers who had to classify each case as ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy of unknown location. The interobserver reproducibility was evaluated by the Fleiss κ statistic. The performance of each observer in predicting ectopic pregnancies was compared to that of the experienced sonologist. Women were followed until they were reclassified as follows: (1) failed pregnancy of unknown location; (2) intrauterine pregnancy; (3) ectopic pregnancy; or (4) persistent pregnancy of unknown location.


Sixty-one women were included. The agreement between reading offline 3D data sets and the first real-time 2D TVUS was very good (80%–82%; κ = 0.89). The overall interobserver agreement among observers reading offline 3D data sets was moderate (κ = 0.52). The diagnostic performance of experienced observers reading offline 3D data sets had accuracy of 78.3% to 85.0%, sensitivity of 66.7% to 81.3%, specificity of 79.5% to 88.4%, positive predictive value of 57.1% to 72.2%, and negative predictive value of 87.5% to 91.3%, compared to the experienced sonologist's real-time 2D TVUS: accuracy of 94.5%, sensitivity of 94.4%, specificity of 94.5%, positive predictive value of 85.0%, and negative predictive value of 98.1%.


The diagnostic accuracy of 3D TVUS by reading offline data sets for predicting ectopic pregnancies is dependent on experience. Reading only static 3D data sets without clinical information does not match the diagnostic performance of real time 2D TVUS combined with clinical information obtained during the scan.

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