Letters To The Editor

Hypertensive crisis of pregnancy must be treated with all urgency

Sarah Rae Easter, MD, and Robert L. Barbieri, MD


Hypertensive crisis of pregnancy must be treated with all urgency

The following happened approximately 27 years ago when I worked as an attending at a regional level 2 hospital in Puerto Rico. One afternoon I received a call from the emergency department that they had been managing a patient (G4P3) at 33 weeks of gestation for about 4 hours. The patient was consulted for hypertension when she went into a hypertensive encephalopathic coma. The patient was brought back to the birth center. Apresoline was given but did not bring the blood pressure down. Magnesium sulfate also was started at that time. I called a colleague from internal medicine and started to give nitroprusside.

Every time the patient’s blood pressure dropped from 120 mm Hg diastolic, she would become conscious and speak with us. As soon as her blood pressure went up, she would go into a coma. The patient was then transferred to a tertiary center in as stable a condition as possible. Cesarean delivery was performed, and the baby did not survive. The mother had an intracerebral hemorrhage. She was transferred to the supra-tertiary center in San Juan where she later passed away from complications of the hypertensive crisis. If the emergency physician had called me earlier, more could have been done.

This event is always fresh I my mind when I manage my patients in Ohio. Thank God for the newer medications we have available and the protocols to manage hypertensive crisis in pregnancy. I hope this experience heightens awareness of how deadly this condition can be.

David A. Rosado, MD
Celina, Ohio

Share your thoughts! Send your Letter to the Editor to rbarbieri@frontlinemedcom.com. Please include your name and the city and state in which you practice.

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