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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Sep;171(3):818-22.

Aggressive versus expectant management of severe preeclampsia at 28 to 32 weeks' gestation: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38103.



Our purpose was to determine whether aggressive or expectant management of severe preeclampsia at 28 to 32 weeks is more beneficial to maternal and neonatal outcome.


Ninety-five eligible patients were randomly assigned to either aggressive (n = 46) or expectant management (n = 49). Aggressive management patients were prepared for delivery, either by cesarean or induction, 48 hours after glucocorticoids were administered. Expectant management patients were managed with bed rest, oral antihypertensives, and intensive antenatal fetal testing.


At the time of randomization there were no differences between the two groups in mean systolic blood pressure (170 +/- 9.7 vs 172 +/- 9.4 mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (110 +/- 5.4 vs 112 +/- 4.2 mm Hg), proteinuria (3.0 +/- 2.3 vs 3.6 +/- 2.3 gm per 24 hours), and gestational age (30.4 +/- 1.6 vs 30.7 +/- 1.5 weeks) for the aggressive and expectant management groups. The average latency period in the expectant management group was 15.4 days (range 4 to 36), and this period was not affected by the amount of proteinuria at randomization. There was no eclampsia or perinatal death in either group. The two groups had similar incidences of abruptio placentae (4.1% vs 4.3%) and similar days of postpartum hospital stay. The expectant management group had a significantly higher gestational age at delivery (32.9 +/- 1.5 vs 30.8 +/- 1.7 weeks, p < 0.0001), higher birth weight, lower incidence of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (76% vs 100%, p = 0.002), lower mean days of hospitalization in the intensive care unit (20.2 +/- 14 vs 36.6 +/- 17.4, p < 0.0001), and lower incidence of neonatal complications.


Expectant management, with close monitoring of mother and fetus at a perinatal center, reduces neonatal complications and neonatal stay in the newborn intensive care unit.

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