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Pre-eclampsia INTRODUCTION Pre-eclampsia is a disorder peculiar to pregnant women It may be defined as the development of hypertension blood pressure 14090 mm Hg together with abnormal oedema or proteinuria or both after the twentieth week of gestation Pre-eclampsia is the precursor of eclampsia Eclampsia is characterised by epileptiform convulsions and coma supervening upon hypertensive disease in pregnancy This greatly increases the maternal and foetal morbidity and morality In the past eclampsia was a frequent cause of death However due to improved ante-natal care and the early detection of the signs of pre-eclampsia the prevalence has decreased greatly especially in developed countries It must be noted that pre-eclampsia is still particularly common in tropical and developing countries where ante-natal care is limited METHOD All pregnant patients with a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia admitted to ward B2 of the QEH between 1992 and 1996 were identified using old case notes from the Records Department of the institution RESULTS The results have shown that from the period 1992 to 1996 there was a significant difference in the prevalence of pre-eclampsia In 1992 the prevalence was twenty-three 23 percent this decreased to nineteen 19 percent in 1993 and 1994 and seventeen 17 percent in 1995 There was a slight increase in the prevalence in 1996 to twenty-two 22 percent See Graph 1 Of the one thousand and sixty-five 1065 women used in the study the 20-24 age group strata had the greatest number of cases reported 295 or 28 with the 25-29 age group strata following closely with 270 cases or 25 In contrast the oldest age group strata 40 years had the least number of cases reported with 15 cases or 1 It was noted that no cases of pre-eclampsia were recorded in the 10-14 age group strata See Table 2 and Graph 2 DISCUSSION The aetiology of pre-eclampsia is unknown Commonly it affects primigravid women but when it occurs in
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