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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1992 Jul;99(7):547-53.

Maternal mortality associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Author information

1
Perinatal Trials Service, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To present estimates of maternal mortality associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and to discuss strategies to prevent these deaths.

DESIGN:

Retrospective review of all available data.

SETTING:

Database of the World Health Organization's Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Programme.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Estimates of the total maternal mortality and the proportions of deaths associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

RESULTS:

Estimates of mortality associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy were similar in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, despite considerably higher total mortality in Africa. Variations in both overall mortality and that associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy were greatest in Asia. Despite their limitations, these data suggest that between 10-15% of maternal deaths are associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and that 10% are associated with eclampsia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Where maternal mortality is relatively high, the excess is likely to be due to a high mortality associated with haemorrhage and infection and reductions are most likely to come from reductions in these deaths. Evidence from both developed and developing countries suggests that deaths associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are the most difficult to prevent. More rigorous assessment of interventions designed to prevent these deaths is urgently required.

PIP:

An epidemiologist analyzed community and hospital-based data obtained from the WHO data base on maternal mortality and morbidity to examine maternal mortality associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Overall estimates of mortality associated with HDP among countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean did not differ, even though overall maternal mortality was much higher in Africa than in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Asia, however, estimates of both maternal mortality and mortality associated with HDP were quite varied (maternal mortality range = 15-905 and percentage of deaths due to HDP range = 4 = 55%). Qatar had the lowest maternal mortality (15) and the highest percentage of deaths due to HDP (55%). Even though maternal mortality was lowest in southern Africa (90-115 vs. 80-1140), percentage of deaths due to HDP was basically high (10-27%). In West Africa, the same HDP levels ranged from 7% to 18%. Maternal mortality was relatively low in the Caribbean (30-80), but it had a very high percentage of deaths due to HDP (30-73%). In Argentina and Chile, maternal mortality was higher than that of the Caribbean (180 and 110. respectively), yet had a low percentage of deaths due to HDP (10%). These data indicated that overall 10-15% of all maternal deaths were associated with HDP. In those countries with detailed data, 60-100% of these deaths were due to eclampsia. Thus eclampsia caused 10% of all maternal deaths. These results suggested that infection and hemorrhage were responsible for the excess maternal mortality. They also implied that deaths associated with HDP may be the most difficult to prevent in developed and developing countries. Health practitioners do not agree on the optimal management of preeclampsia and eclampsia. Several clinical trials worldwide are now evaluating the various management options.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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