J Indian Med Assoc. 1995 Feb;93(2):58-9, 48.


PIP: The maternal mortality rate associated with eclampsia ranges from 100 to 6000 per 100,000, and the perinatal mortality rate ranges from 150 to 400 per 1000. Both eclampsia and its preceding condition, pregnancy-induced hypertension, occur in varying degrees in different parts of India. The warning signs of imminent eclampsia are 1) systolic blood pressure of 160 mmHg or more on two occasions six hours apart when the patient is on bed rest; 2) proteinuria of 5 g or more in 24 hours or 3 + or more by semiquantitative assay; 3) oliguria or anuria; 4) cerebral or visual disturbances; 5) pulmonary edema or cyanosis; and 6) epigastric/right hypochondriac pain, impaired liver function, and thrombocytopenia and coagulation disorders. Eclampsia is classified as the acute fulminating type, which can occur without warning, and the insidious type. Most cases (61%) show onset of eclampsia during the prenatal period. Treatment of eclampsia involves 1) control of convulsions (through an injection of magnesium sulphate or diazepam or the intravenous administration of phenytoin); 2) correction of hypoxia and acidosis; 3) a gradual lowering of blood pressure with hydralazine hydrochloride, nifedipine, atenolol, labetalol, oxprenolol, or metoprolol); and 4) steps to effect delivery. Diagnosis of HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) requires a complete blood count, blood film for platelet count and red blood cell fragmentation, and a coagulation screen for diagnosis of disseminated intravascular coagulation. Efforts to induce delivery in cases of prenatal eclampsia can take place 12-24 hours after convulsions have stopped. There is no reason to prolong pregnancy in the interests of the fetus, and in some cases Cesarean section may be required. Adequate prenatal care should allow the identification of almost every potential case of eclampsia and allow the prompt treatment of pre-eclampsia or termination of pregnancy when necessary. Medical staff must receive proper training to diagnose pre-eclampsia and treat the condition.

MeSH terms

  • Eclampsia* / mortality
  • Eclampsia* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • Pregnancy