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Can J Anaesth. 1997 Mar;44(3):325-9.

Critical care management of the obstetric patient.

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Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



To review a series of critically ill obstetric patients admitted to a general intensive care unit in a Canadian centre, to assess the spectrum of diseases, interventions required and outcome.


A retrospective chart review was performed of obstetric patients admitted to the intensive care unit of an academic hospital with a high-risk obstetric service, during a five-year period. Data obtained included the admission diagnosis, ICU course and outcome. Daily APACHE II and TISS scores were recorded.


Sixty-five obstetric patients, representing 0.26% of deliveries in this hospital, were admitted to the ICU during the study period. All had received prenatal care. Admission diagnoses included obstetric (71%) and non-obstetric (29%) complications. The mean APACHE II score was 6.8 +/- 4.2 and mean TISS score was 24 +/- 8.1. Twenty-seven patients (42%) required mechanical ventilation. No maternal mortality occurred and the perinatal mortality rate was 11%.


A small proportion of obstetric patients develop complications requiring ICU admission. The outcome in this study was excellent, in contrast to that reported in other published studies with similar ICU admission rates. The universal availability of prenatal care may be an important factor in the outcome of this group of patients. The lack of a specific severity of illness scoring system for the pregnant patient makes comparison of case series difficult.

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