Master Class

Treating preeclampsia


 

Preeclampsia is such a complicated and insidious disease – and one with such serious implications for the fetus, the infant at birth, and the mother – that we decided to run a three-part series on its diagnosis and management. The complication can have an acute onset in many patients, and this acute onset may rapidly progress to eclampsia and to severe consequences, including maternal death. In addition, the disorder can occur as early as the late second trimester and can thus impact the timing of delivery and fetal age at birth. A full knowledge of the disease state – its pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and various therapeutic options, both medical and surgical – is critical for obstetricians to be able to affect the health and well-being of both the mother and fetus.

Dr. E. Albert Reece, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the school of medicine.

Dr. E. Albert Reece

I have invited Dr. Baha M. Sibai, professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School, Houston, to deliver this series. Our first installment addressed diagnostic criteria and attempted to clarify confusion that may have been introduced with the 2013 publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Task Force Report on Hypertension in Pregnancy. It is important that the diagnostic criteria are well established and understood because the management of patients is very much based on accurate placement within these diagnostic criteria.

This second installment of our series focuses on the application of appropriate therapeutic measures for various diagnostic groups. Dr. Sibai has spent decades studying hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and developing practical clinical strategies for management. It is our hope that the guidance and algorithms presented here will be useful for improving patient care and outcomes of this serious obstetrical syndrome. A third installment on postpartum management will come later.

Dr. Reece, who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine, is vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, as well as the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the school of medicine. He is the medical editor of this column. He said he had no relevant financial disclosures. Contact him at [email protected].

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