Management of severe preeclampsia

G Brichant, P Y Dewandre, J M Foidart, J F Brichant
Acta Clinica Belgica 2010, 65 (3): 163-9
Features of severe preeclampsia include severe proteinuric hypertension and symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction, hepatocellular injury, thrombocytopenia, oliguria, pulmonary oedema, cerebrovascular accident and severe intrauterine growth restriction. Women with severe preeclampsia must be hospitalized to confirm the diagnosis, to assess the severity of the disease, to monitor the progression of the disease and to try to stabilize the disease. Severe preeclampsia may be managed expectantly, in selected cases. The objective of expectant management in these patients is to improve neonatal outcome. Expectant management is based on antihypertensive treatment and prevention of end organ dysfunction. Antihypertensive treatment improves maternal outcome but has the potential to be deleterious for the foetus. Plasma volume expansion has been suggested for severe preeclampsia but trials failed to show any benefit. Magnesium sulfate is the anticonvulsivant of choice to treat or prevent eclampsia when indicated. Antenatal corticosteroids are recommended in severely preeclamptic women with 26-34 weeks gestation. Timing of delivery is based upon gestational age, severity of preeclampsia, maternal and foetal risks.

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