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Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia

versión impresa ISSN 0100-7203versión On-line ISSN 1806-9339


PERACOLI, José Carlos  y  PARPINELLI, Mary Angela. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: identifying severe cases. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. [online]. 2005, vol.27, n.10, pp.627-634. ISSN 1806-9339.

Arterial hypertension is one of the most frequent causes of maternal death. The most important types found in pregnancy are gestational hypertension, clinically defined by increased arterial pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, and preeclampsia associated with proteinuria. In the initial phase, the disease is asymptomatic, but when not treated or when the pregnancy is not interrupted, it naturally progresses to serious forms such as eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Eclampsia is defined by one or more generalized tonic-clonic seizures or coma in a pregnant woman with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia, and without neurological disease. It may occur during pregnancy, labor, and immediately after delivery. It is often preceded by signs and symptoms of imminent eclampsia (central nervous system, visual and gastric disorders). Its association with hemolysis, low platelet count, and hepatic dysfunction had already been reported in the literature of the 1950's. In 1982, Weinstein grouped these alterations as a syndrome under the acronym of HELLP, meaning hemolysis (H), elevated liver enzyme levels (EL), and low platelet (LP) count. The literature differs in relation to the parameter values that define the syndrome. Sibai et al. (1986) proposed a system of laboratory and biochemical diagnosis standards which has been adopted by the Brazilian Health Ministry. Clinical manifestations are sometimes imprecise; common complaints are epigastric pain, general malaise, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Early diagnosis is exclusively by laboratory tests and should be systematically investigated in women with serious preeclampsia/eclampsia or pain in the superior right abdominal quadrant. Differentiating HELLP syndrome from others with similar clinical or laboratory manifestations is not easy. Differential diagnosis is particularly difficult regarding diseases such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or acute fatty liver of pregnancy, due to poor clinical history, and similar physiopathological aspects. An understanding of preeclampsia physiopathology, early diagnosis, and precise action at the right moment in situations complicated by eclampsia or HELLP syndrome, allows a better maternal and perinatal prognosis.

Palabras clave : Parturition; Pregnancy; Hypertension; Pregnancy complications, cardiovascular; Risk factors; Maternal mortality.

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