heterogenous uterus

A 28-year-old female G3P2002 presented to the emergency department for one month of vaginal bleeding. The patient was seen in the emergency department one month earlier for vaginal bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. Her estimated gestational age was six weeks by last menstrual period. At the time her beta-hCG was 7225 mlU/mL with no intrauterine pregnancy demonstrated on transvaginal ultrasound. Three days later, the patient had declining b-hCG and transvaginal ultrasound again with no intrauterine pregnancy. The patient was discharged home with a diagnosis of miscarriage. Since discharge, she endorsed an initial slowing of vaginal bleeding but over the last two weeks bleeding had become heavier and continuous; soaking up to eight pads a day. She endorsed worsening nausea and vomiting over the past two weeks. She has been sexually active since her last encounter. She denied abdominal pain, pelvic pain, cramping, dizziness, shortness of breath, or fevers.

Vitals: BP 136/70; Pulse 96; Temp 97.8°F; Resp 16; SpO2 100%

Constitutional: No distress

Cardiovascular: Normal rate, regular rhythm, normal heart sounds

Abdomen: Soft and non-tender; Gravid uterus approximately 10 weeks

Pelvic exam: Active vaginal bleeding of dark red blood originating from the cervical os. Cervical os is closed and otherwise normal in appearance. Multiple clots are seen in the vaginal canal and posterior fornix. Vaginal canal and external genitals are normal in appearance.

Beta-HCG: 91,401 mlU/mL

Hemoglobin: 12.8 g/dL

Our patient’s case is convoluted by reporting a miscarriage the month prior, with declining beta-HCG and transvaginal ultrasounds with no intrauterine pregnancy. While her symptoms never fully resolved she endorsed that her vaginal bleeding slowed and only started getting worse after resuming intercourse.

Her physical exam of a gravid uterus of approximately 10 weeks (despite reporting a miscarriage four weeks prior), persistent vaginal bleeding, and intractable nausea and vomiting are concerning for molar pregnancy [1]. Molar pregnancies typically present as abnormal uterine bleeding in the first or second trimester and are accompanied by symptoms of hyperemesis gravida secondary to the increase in beta-hCG [2]. The two main risk factors for gestational trophoblastic disease are the extremes of maternal age and prior molar pregnancy. However, there is an increased risk for molar pregnancy in patients with a history of prior spontaneous abortions and infertility [4]. Beta-hCG are typically greater than > 100,000 mlU/mL signifying excessive trophoblastic growth, however a value < 100,000 mlU/mL does not exclude the diagnosis of molar pregnancy as partial moles tend not to produce as much beta-HCG [3].

These images, taken by point of care ultrasound, show a heterogenic mass with mixed echogenicities within the uterine cavity consistent with gestational trophoblastic disease or molar pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology was consulted for definitive management. The patient was taken to the operating room for dilation and curettage and was discharged the following day.

Take-Home Points

  • Physical exam findings of an enlarged uterus inconsistent with gestational age, vaginal bleeding, and intractable nausea and vomiting should clue you into a possible molar pregnancy.
  • Point-of-care ultrasound is an invaluable tool when assessing vaginal bleeding and will often help the clinician in the management or diagnostic pathway.
  • Beta-hCG < 100,000 mlU/mL does not rule out molar pregnancy. Obtain a good history, perform a thorough physical exam, and pick up your ultrasound probe.

  • Soper, John T. “Gestational Trophoblastic Disease.” Obstetrics & Gynecology, vol. 137, no. 2, 2021, pp. 355–370., https://doi.org/10.1097/aog.0000000000004240.
  • Cline, David, et al. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. McGraw-Hill Education, 2020.
  • Berkowitz, Ross S., and Donald P. Goldstein. “Molar Pregnancy.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 360, no. 16, 2009, pp. 1639–1645., https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmcp0900696.
  • Acaia, Barbara, et al. “Increased Frequency of Complete Hydatidiform Mole in Women with Repeated Abortion.” Gynecologic Oncology, vol. 31, no. 2, 1988, pp. 310–314., https://doi.org/10.1016/s0090-8258(88)80009-x.

Thomas Cox, MD

Ultrasound Fellow
University of Florida Jacksonville

Latest posts by Thomas Cox, MD (see all)

Roger Vazquez-Gomez, MD

Ultrasound Fellow
University of Florida Jacksonville

Latest posts by Roger Vazquez-Gomez, MD (see all)

Petra Duran-Gehring, MD

Petra Duran-Gehring, MD

Ultrasound Director
University of Florida Jacksonville
Petra Duran-Gehring, MD

Latest posts by Petra Duran-Gehring, MD (see all)

Michelle Escobar, MD

Michelle Escobar, MD

Ultrasound Faculty
University of Florida Jacksonville
Michelle Escobar, MD

Latest posts by Michelle Escobar, MD (see all)