Recognition of Severe Features of Pre-eclampsia

Recognition of Severe Features of Pre-eclampsia

Severe features of pre-eclampsia include severe hypertension with significant proteinuria or hypertension with other severe features of pre-eclampsia. 

Severe hypertension:

  • SBP ≥160 and/or DBP ≥110 (with significant proteinuria)

Other severe clinical features of pre-eclampsia3:

  • Ongoing or recurring severe headaches 
  • Visual scotomata 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Epigastric pain 
  • Oliguria and severe hypertension 

Other features:

  • Abnormal blood tests (e.g. rising creatinine, transaminases or falling platelets)
  • Abnormal ultrasound (fetal growth restriction or abnormal umbilical artery doppler)

Learning bite

Severe pre-eclampsia is diagnosed when there is persistent hypertension above 160 systolic and/or 110 diastolic associated with significant proteinuria or other features of severe pre-eclampsia. Severe hypertension requires immediate antihypertensive treatment to reduce the risk of haemorrhagic stroke.