n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy : what the physician needs to know : review articles




Hypertension developing during pregnancy may be caused by a variety of different pathophysiological mechanisms. The occurrence of proteinuric hypertension during the second half of pregnancy identifies a group of women whose hypertensive disorder is most likely to be caused by the pregnancy itself and for whom the risk of complications, including maternal mortality, is highest. Physicians identifying patients with hypertension in pregnancy need to discriminate between pre-eclampsia and other forms of hypertensive disease. Pre-eclamptic disease requires obstetric intervention before it will resolve and it must be managed in a multidisciplinary environment. The principles of diagnosis and management of these different entities are outlined in this review.


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