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Preeclampsia
(GY014)

Introduction


The terms pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia are often used interchangeably, which may cause significant confusion. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia and eclampsia should actually be considered as a spectrum of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

Preeclampsia is a complex disorder of the placenta usually occurring in the third trimester of pregnancy, and involving several body systems. Also known as gestational hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension or toxemia, it is defined as a triad of hypertension, proteinuria (protein in the urine) and generalized edema (swelling in the face, hands and legs).

Preeclampsia complicates 5-10% of all pregnancies. Women under the age of 20 are at highest risk.

For most women, the disease resolves within 24 hours of delivery. However, preeclampsia can progress into a life-threatening situation (eclampsia) for both the mother and the fetus.

The goals of therapy for preeclampsia are the safety of the mother and the delivery of a healthy newborn as close as possible to full gestation. The only "cure" for preeclampsia is the delivery of the baby. The decision to deliver the baby early is dependent on the severity of the disease and the status of the mother and child.

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This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:


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