Hypertension and pregnancy-related hypertension

Cardiol Clin. 1998 Feb;16(1):79-101. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8651(05)70386-6.


Pregnant women with hypertension can be divided into two groups: normotensive women who develop the uniquely pregnancy-related syndrome of preeclampsia, which is characterized by hypertension, proteinuria, and edema; and women with chronic hypertension who become pregnant and are at increased risk for developing superimposed preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a syndrome of generalized endothelial dysfunction initiated by abnormal placentation and consequent placental under-perfusion, release of cytokines and other toxins, and vasoconstriction and platelet activation. Preeclampsia is the major cause of both maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality and may be complicated by eclampsia (seizures) and hepatic and renal failure. The process is completely reversible by delivery of the fetus and placenta, but intrauterine growth retardation and premature delivery pose major threats to the fetus and may require care in tertiary care center. Treatment of preexisting or pregnancy-induced hypertension does not prevent or reverse the process, but is justified to prevent maternal cardiovascular complications, especially during labor and delivery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Eclampsia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular*
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk


  • Antihypertensive Agents