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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Jan;162(1):1-4.

Treatment in an obstetric intensive care unit.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


A three-bed intensive care unit was opened in the labor and delivery area of a city-county hospital having approximately 7500 deliveries annually. The utilization rate of 0.9% and the severity of illness were sufficient to justify such a unit. Main indications for admission were hypertensive disorders (46%), massive hemorrhage (10%), and medical problems of pregnancy (44%). Identifiable benefits of the unit were as follows: (1) Intensive observation and organization allowed for prevention of early recognition and treatment of complications; (2) familiarity with invasive monitoring permitted personnel to exert prompt, rational treatment of hemodynamically unstable patients; (3) continuity of care was improved before and after delivery; (4) residents and fellows learned a great deal about intensive care and the management of rare medical complications of pregnancy. We conclude not only that critically ill pregnant women can be managed successfully in an obstetric intensive care unit but also that critical care is a bona fide part of obstetric practice and has been incorporated into our training program.

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