Preeclampsia Presentation Varies Depending on Race and Ethnicity


RENO, NEV. — A retrospective study examining 473 pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia has uncovered a number of significant racial and ethnic differences in the expression of the disorder.

African American women with preeclampsia tend to have more severe hypertension and more often require antihypertensive medication than the population at large, according to a poster presentation by Amy Goodwin, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, and associates at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

While 37% of the full sample had severe hypertension at diagnosis, 45% of African American women had severe hypertension. African American women were also significantly more likely to require antihypertensive medication intrapartum (12% vs. 8.8%), post partum (18% vs. 13%), and at discharge (35% vs. 27%).

Non-Hispanic Caucasian women more frequently manifest severe hypertension with hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count (HELLP) syndrome. While 24% of the full sample exhibited HELLP, the rate among Caucasian women was 30%.

Hispanic women tend to present with preeclampsia later in gestation and with less severe disease than the rest of the population. They presented at a mean of 36 weeks of gestation vs. 34.4 weeks for the rest of the population, and a smaller proportion of them exhibited severe hypertension at diagnosis (27% vs. 37%).

The study found no significant differences by race or ethnicity in a number of other factors including proteinuria, eclampsia, intrauterine fetal distress, intrauterine growth retardation, abruption, and recurrent preeclampsia.

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