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Am J Emerg Med. 2005 Mar;23(2):168-70.

Late postpartum eclampsia as an obstetric complication seen in the ED.

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Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy associated with hypertension and proteinuria. Preeclampsia may be associated with grand mal seizures and is termed eclampsia. Historically, eclampsia occurring more than 48 hours after delivery, known as late postpartum eclampsia, was thought to be uncommon; however, recent evidence suggests that its incidence is increasing. In addition, the presentation of late postpartum preeclampsia-eclampsia may differ from that occurring during the pregnancy. This contributes to difficulty in diagnosing late postpartum preeclampsia-eclampsia in an emergency department setting. We report 2 cases of late postpartum eclampsia presenting 8 days after delivery, which highlight the unique features of this disorder and discuss some of the difficulties in managing these patients. Greater awareness and knowledge of this disorder by ED physicians should improve outcomes in these potentially life-threatening cases.

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