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(ĭklămp`sēə), term applied to toxic complications that can occur late in pregnancy. Toxemiatoxemia
, disease state caused by the presence in the blood of bacterial toxins or other harmful substances. The effects of the bacterial toxins known as endotoxins are relatively uniform, regardless of which bacterial species the toxin comes from, and are separate from the
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 of pregnancy occurs in 10% to 20% of pregnant women; symptoms include headache, vertigo, visual disturbances, vomiting, hypertension, and edema. The four categories of hypertension during pregnancy are pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, chronic hypertension, and transient hypertension. Pre-eclampsia, which occurs late in pregnancy, is characterized by decreased cardiac output and increased blood vessel resistance. It may be prevented with calcium supplements and low-dose aspirin, and a cesarian section is often safer than natural childbirth. Only 5% of of women with pre-eclampsia progress to eclampsia, which is accompanied by convulsions and coma. To avoid renal and cardiovascular damage of the mother and to prevent fetal damage, the condition is treated by termination of pregnancy.



a serious disease occurring during pregnancy, labor, or the postpartum period. Eclampsia is a late stage of toxemia of pregnancy. The condition is characterized by convulsions that develop in a definite sequence. Slight fibrillar contractions of the facial muscles (15–30 seconds) are followed by tonic spasms of the total skeletal musculature and loss of consciousness (15–20 seconds). Clonic muscular spasms of the trunk and limbs occur, and, finally, the woman lapses into a brief or prolonged coma. Consciousness returns gradually. In particularly severe cases, eclampsia may occur without convulsions (comatous forms). Eclampsia is often manifested by only a few convulsions, and high blood pressure may not be a symptom. Death may occur during or after convulsions as a result of pulmonary edema, hemorrhages into the brain, and asphyxia. The fetus often dies in utero from hypoxia. The prognosis depends on the number and duration of the convulsions or on the duration of the coma.

Current treatment of eclampsia is based on principles developed by the Soviet obstetrician-gynecologist V. V. Stroganov in 1928. Total physical and mental rest is prescribed. Functioning of the vital organs is restored: Drugs are administered to decrease the excitability of the central nervous system, to lower blood pressure, and to stimulate urination. Oxygen is administered in cases of pronounced hypoxia, and labor is induced quickly but cautiously. The patient should not be moved during convulsions or while in a coma. Prompt hospitalization is required as soon as consciousness is regained. Prophylaxis includes the prevention of advanced toxemia and prompt hospital treatment of neuropathy and preeclampsia.


Nikolaev, A. P. Pozdnie toksikozy beremennykh. Moscow, 1972.



A disorder occurring during the latter half of pregnancy, characterized by elevated blood pressure, edema, proteinuria, and convulsions or coma.


1. Pathol a toxic condition of unknown cause that sometimes develops in the last three months of pregnancy, characterized by high blood pressure, abnormal weight gain and convulsions
2. another name for milk fever (in cattle)
References in periodicals archive ?
The neurologic disturbances in eclampsia and preeclampsia are thought to represent a form of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES).
Compared to controls, African-Americans, nulliparity, premature delivery, and increased neonatal morbidity were significantly associated with eclampsia.
Nevertheless, taking into account that the pathophysiology of seizures in eclampsia involves ischemic damage to cells in the CNS, as well as the fact that increased S100B seems to be an indicator of increased intracranial blood pressure (18) and of hypertension-related injury during cardiopulmonary bypass (19), it is feasible that an increase in S100B could be observed in eclampsia, perhaps even before the occurrence of seizures.
The purpose of the study was to identify factors associated with maternal mortality among non-surviving (cases) and surviving (controls) women hospitalised for severe pre-eclampsia/ eclampsia at MCRH from 1 January 1995 until 31 December 1997.
Postpartum preeclampsia and, particularly eclampsia may be becoming more common with the trend toward earlier postpartum discharge from the hospital, said Dr.
Although full-blown eclampsia is much rarer now than in Lady Sybil's day, it can still kill.
According to NLM, the risk for eclampsia increases for women over the age of 35 and it only occurs in one out of every 2,000 or 3,000 pregnancies.
Failure to diagnose pre-eclampsia and eclampsia at lower levels of care complicated case management at tertiary-care facilities.
The complications can lead to eclampsia, a condition categorized by severe headaches, vision problems, and -- after further progression -- possible death for the woman and her baby.
Eclampsia is the commonest direct cause of maternal death in South Africa, which is of concern since it is preventable if pre-eclampsia is detected early and managed by early delivery.
Key Words: ergometrine, post-partum haemorrhage, eclampsia
65,66) When eclampsia develops, expedient delivery is mandated, regardless of gestational age.