Pre-eclampsia is a hypertensive syndrome occurring during pregnancy which is characterised by new onset hypertension occurring after 20 weeks of gestation and usually associated with proteinuria.  It occurs in approximately 6% of pregnancies. 

Many patients with pre-eclampsia will be diagnosed when asymptomatic through routine screening during the course of their antenatal care.   However, patients may present acutely to the emergency department with symptoms related to undiagnosed pre-eclampsia or complications of their pre-eclampsia. Therefore, it is important that doctors working in the emergency department have an understanding of the disease. 

Approximately 1-2% of patients with pre-eclampsia will progress to eclampsia.  Although urgent obstetric review should be sought, it may be necessary to start emergency treatment of severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in the emergency department when patients present directly to the ED.  

Learning bite 

Pre-eclampsia occurs in up to 6% of pregnancies. 

Post a comment

Leave a Comment