Hospital records of all women operated on for ectopic pregnancy (EP) in four Swedish towns during 1970-72 and 1980-82 were elaborated. The gynecological and obstetrical background was noted and the clinical picture and management was recorded and analysed. The incidence of EP more than doubled between the two periods. There was no major change in classical background factors between the periods, but the proportion of IUCD users rose from 4 to 16 percent. The use of hCG assays, curettage and ultrasound in establishing the diagnosis increased markedly and the proportion of women with ruptured tubes and heavy intra-abdominal bleeding decreased. Moreover there was a clear tendency towards a more conservative surgical approach in the latter period.