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Rev Port Cardiol. 2012 Jun;31(6):425-32.

[Hypertension in pregnancy: the current state of the art].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Serviço de Cardiologia, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


Hypertension complicates 6-8% of pregnancies and includes the following four conditions: hypertension preceding pregnancy or documented before the 20th week of gestation; pre-eclampsia (PE)/eclampsia; chronic hypertension with superimposed pre-eclampsia; and gestational hypertension. The latter is defined as a significant rise in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy in previously normotensive women, to over 140/90 mmHg. When blood pressure remains above 160/110 mmHg, it is considered severe. PE is defined as the presence of proteinuria (> or = 300 mg/24 h) in pregnant women with hypertension. The hypertensive syndromes of pregnancy are among the leading causes of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality and anti-hypertensive treatment is part of the therapeutic arsenal used to prevent serious complications. Although the role of utero-placental insufficiency due to deficient migration of trophoblasts to the spiral arteries is universally accepted, the pathophysiology of PE remains largely unknown and is the subject of debate. No effective ways of predicting or preventing PE have been found, which highlights the need for further research in this field. This review aims primarily to evaluate recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of gestational hypertension and especially PE, and new ways of predicting PE. Additionally, we present a brief review on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of PE.

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