Hypertension and eclampsia

  • R. S. Ledward
  • D. F. Hawkins


For purposes of management, it is convenient to classify hypertension in pregnancy as ‘essential hypertension’, when the hypertension is present before 20 (or 24) weeks of pregnancy, or ‘preeclampsia’, which may be defined as hypertension coming on late in pregnancy, whether or not accompanied by albuminuria or oedema. The term essential hypertension then includes hypertension whose onset precedes pregnancy, hypertension appearing during the first half of pregnancy, and hypertension secondary to conditions such as renal, heart or thyroid disease. When a patient with essential hypertension develops a severe exacerbation in late pregnancy, with perhaps development of severe proteinuria and oedema, opinions differ as to whether or not this should be considered as a super-imposition of the pathology of pre-eclampsia. From the point of view of management, the distinction is academic; if the condition cannot be controlled by the therapeutic measures employed to treat essential hypertension or the fetus is considered to be at risk, then the patient should be delivered.


Essential Hypertension Chloral Hydrate Magnesium Sulphate Calcium Gluconate Central Nervous System Depressant 
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Hypertension in pregnancy

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Copyright information

© R.S. Ledward and D.F. Hawkins 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. S. Ledward
    • 1
  • D. F. Hawkins
    • 2
  1. 1.South-East Kent Health AuthorityUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of LondonUK

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