Lethal Complications of Preeclampsia and Eclampsia

Authors: B. Srp 1;  P. Velebil 2;  J. Kvasnička 3
Authors‘ workplace: Gynekologicko-porodnická klinika UK, 1. LF a VFN v Praze, přednosta prof. MUDr. J. Živný, DrSc. 2Ústav pro péči o matku a dítě, Praha-Podolí, ředitel doc. MUDr. J. Feyereisel, CSc. 3I. interní klinika UK, 1. LF a VFN v Praze, přednosta prof. MUDr. P. Klen 1
Published in: Ceska Gynekol 2002; (6): 365-371


Analysis of preeclampsia and eclampsia – one of the major contributor to life-threateningmaternal morbidity frequently leading to maternal mortality in the Czech Republic till late70 ‘s. Our goal was to mention major causal links in clinical courses of individual maternal deathand to highlight main mistakes and faults, and to provide frequencies and basic characteristics ofrisk groups.Design: Retrospective epidemiological study.Setting: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the 1st Medical School of Charles Universityand General University Hospital, Prague. Institute for the Care of Mother and Child, Prague-Podoli;1st Intern Department of the 1st Medical School of Charles University and General UniversityHospital, Prague.Methods: Analysis of 31 cases of maternal deaths associated with severe preeclampsia and eclampsiain the Czech Republic during 1978–2000, using a database of 470 maternal deaths during theobserved period. We analyzed clinical course with special attention to obstetrical surgery andclinical management. We considered timelines of life-threatening events, age of mother, parity,and place of death.Results: There were 36 maternal deaths associated with severe preeclampsia and eclampsia in theCzech Republic in 1978–2000, contributing 7.7% to total maternal mortality. Group A1 was 5th mostfrequent cause of maternal death. We analyzed 31 cases closely related to severe preeclampsia andeclampsia. During 1978–1990 there was 1 death per 74,263 live-born babies in this category, whileduring 1991–2000 we observed only 1 death per 171,137 live-born babies. Clinical management wasnot adequate in 15 cases of death (48%) and content of care did not reflect possibilities of prevention,diagnosis and therapy. Severe preeclampsia and eclampsia was more frequent among olderwomen and multiparae. First group (61%) is composed of women with manifest convulsions, 25%of them experienced convulsion after delivery, and only few cases had mild preeclampsia antepartum. Eclampsia with convulsions leading to coma were in 10 cases complicated with DIC, twocases in this group had premature separation of placenta. Besides classic symptoms of preeclampsiathere were within this group 5 cases of multiple pregnancy, history of unstable hypertension,hepatopathy in previous pregnancy and chronic nephrosis. The second group (39%) were caseswithout convulsions. These cases were complicated with severe liver disorders and renal failure,and 5 cases of intra-cranial hemorrhage. Several cases had combination of symptoms. DIC waspresent in 6 cases. In both groups there were 5 cases with hemorrhagic skin symptoms, thrombopenia,symptoms of DIC and liver and renal failure, which would fall into HELLP syndromeaccording to current classification. The most of women died during the post-partum period (87%)mostly after emergency operative deliveries. The fact that no women died during pregnancyindicates the effort to perform life-saving operative delivery. Fortytwo percent of women were interm. Especially at the beginning of observed period we noticed tendency to prolonge gestation inorder to save the baby. The mortality of fetuses or newborns was 71%. Operative deliveries accountedfor 71%, the majority of them were caesarean sections. More than 50% of cases wereoperated in coma. We indicate major mistakes and failures in organization of care, primaryprevention, diagnosis, and consequent care.Conclusion: Positive results in area of maternal deaths in association with severe preeclampsiaand eclampsia during last 10 years are due to improved diagnostic and therapeutic measures inour field, especially in neonatology, because obstetricians currently terminate pregnancies earlythan before while symptoms of preeclampsia get worse. We focus on early recognition of symptomsof coagulopathy in combination with symptoms of preeclampsia, especially on early detectionand treatment of HELLP syndrome.

Key words:
epideimology, maternal mortality, preeclampsia, eclampsia, operative delivery

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Paediatric gynaecology Gynaecology and obstetrics Reproduction medicine

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Czech Gynaecology

2002 Issue 6

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