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Semin Perinatol. 2009 Jun;33(3):196-205. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2009.02.004.

Imitators of severe pre-eclampsia.

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  • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA. baha.sibai@uc.edu


There are many obstetric, medial, and surgical disorders that share many of the clinical and laboratory findings of patients with severe pre-eclampsia-eclampsia. Imitators of severe pre-eclampsia-eclampsia are life-threatening emergencies that can develop during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. These conditions are associated with high maternal and perinatal mortalities and morbidities, and survivors may face long-term sequelae. The pathophysiologic abnormalities in many of these disorders include vasospasm, platelet activation or destruction, microvascular thrombosis, endothelial cell dysfunction, and reduced tissue perfusion. Some of these disorders include acute fatty liver of pregnancy, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic uremic syndrome, acute exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus, and disseminated herpes simplex and sepsis syndromes. Differential diagnosis may be difficult due to the overlap of several clinical and laboratory findings of these syndrome. It is important that the clinician make the accurate diagnosis when possible because the management and complications from these syndromes may be different. Because of the rarity of these conditions during pregnancy and postpartum, the available literature includes only case reports and case series describing these syndromes. This review focuses on diagnosis, management, and counseling of women who develop these syndromes based on results of recent studies and my own clinical experience.

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