Ectopic pregnancy is now the second leading cause of maternal mortality in the United States. We describe changes in ectopic pregnancy mortality and characterize the risk of death from ectopic pregnancy for different groups, using ectopic pregnancy deaths identified by the national Vital Statistics System for 1970–1983, ectopic pregnancy-related deaths investigated by the Centers for Disease Control for 1979–1982, and ectopic pregnancy cases estimated from the National Hospital Discharge Survey for 1970–1983. During both 1970–1976 and 1977–1983, women of black and other races were at significantly increased risk of death from ectopic pregnancy compared with white women. This increased risk held for all ages and all geographic regions. Little variation existed in the risk of death from ectopic pregnancy by age and geographic region. From 1970–1983, the risk of death from ectopic pregnancy declined among all races and ages in all regions. These data suggest that black women, and in particular teenagers and older women, may have inadequate access to gynecologic and prenatal services. Active outreach may reduce the risk of death from ectopic pregnancy.
© 1987 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists