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S Afr Med J. 1988 May 7;73(9):516-8.

Conservative management of severe proteinuric hypertension before 28 weeks' gestation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Stellenbosch, Parowvallei.


Forty-five patients with severe proteinuric hypertension who presented before 28 weeks' gestation were managed conservatively by bed rest, antihypertensive treatment, betamethasone administration after 26 weeks' gestation, and intensive fetal and maternal monitoring. Eleven patients presented before 24 weeks and their babies all died; 34 patients presented at or after 24 weeks and 13 of their babies survived (38%). The indications for delivery were intra-uterine death (13), fetal distress (9), deterioration in the mother's condition (17), and maternal complications--pulmonary oedema in 3 cases and pleural effusion in 1. One patient went into spontaneous labour and one was induced at 34 weeks. At postpartum follow-up examination all the mothers in the group that had presented before 24 weeks were found to have underlying diseases, compared with 42% of those who had presented between 24 and 27 weeks. The low incidence of maternal complications and the relatively good survival rate of 38% indicate that there is a place for conservative management in patients with severe proteinuric hypertension presenting at 24 weeks or later. Termination of the pregnancy should, however, be seriously considered in those patients presenting before 24 weeks' gestation.

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