Regional Anaesthesia in Pre-eclampsia
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- Mandai, N.G. & Surapaneni, S. Drugs (2004) 64: 223. doi:10.2165/00003495-200464030-00001
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Pre-eclampsia is a multisystemic disorder that is characterised by endothelial cell dysfunction as a consequence of abnormal genetic and immunological mechanisms. Despite active research for years, the exact aetiology of this potentially fatal disorder remains unknown. Although understanding of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia has improved, management has not changed significantly over the years. Anaesthetic management of these patients remains a challenge. Although general anaesthesia can be used safely in pre-eclamptic women, it is fraught with greater maternal morbidity and mortality. Currently, the safety of regional anaesthesia techniques is well established and they can provide better obstetrical outcome when chosen properly. Thus, regional anaesthesia is extensively used for the management of pain and labour in women with pre-eclampsia. This article highlights the advantages and disadvantages of regional anaesthetic techniques including epidural, spinal and combined spinal-epidural analgesia, used as a part of the management of pre-eclampsia. The problems associated with general anaesthesia and controversies in relation to obstetric regional anaesthesia are discussed.