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The ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

OBJECTIVE: To review the up-to-date literature concerning the pathogenesis of, risk factors for, prevention of, and therapy for the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and to provide suggestions for management of this syndrome.

DESIGN: Literature review combined with on-site clinical experiences at the authors' institution of practice.

PATIENT(S): Women who have risk factors for or manifest the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

INTERVENTION(S): Intravenous fluid management, thrombosis prevention techniques, paracentesis techniques, and critical care management protocols.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Staging system of the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, criteria for outpatient versus hospitalization management, and indications for varying levels of interventional management.

RESULT(S): The ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, unique to the field of assisted reproductive technology, remains a largely elusive and unpredictable iatrogenic physiologic complication in the course of pharmacologic ovarian stimulation. Reliable information on risk factors, possible physiologic mechanisms, prevention techniques, and management is fortunately progressing, and overall advances are being made in this field. The present review is an attempt to summarize the modern literature regarding this syndrome and to use this current knowledge to provide a basis for acceptable management regimens.

CONCLUSION(S): Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is a serious complication of assisted reproductive technology, with potential for critical morbidity and death. Physicians who prescribe medications known to be associated with this syndrome should be familiar with identifiable risk factors, means of prevention, and a system for staging and treating the disease and have a current knowledge base for putative models of pathogenesis.

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