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eclampsia (ĭklămpˈsēə), term applied to toxic complications that can occur late in pregnancy. Toxemia 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A disorder occurring during the latter half of pregnancy, characterized by elevated blood pressure, edema, proteinuria, and convulsions or coma.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
About 10% of pregnant patients are at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and its prevalence is high in developing countries.
Data related to descriptive analysis were expressed as means, and bivariate analysis was achieved using the chi-square test (eclampsia occurrence was the dependent variable).
To study the incidence of eclampsia, socio-demographic parameters, clinical presentation, type of eclampsia, mode of delivery and its foetomaternal outcome.
Complications and outcome of patients of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia presenting to medical wards of Mayo hospital Lahore.
The coagulation profile and neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio will be determined among pre-eclampsia and eclampsia patients, who are admitted to the maternity ward and labor room of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department and in the control groups, having age and anthropometrically matched apparently healthy pregnant women.
This study aims to determine the pathological changes of placentas from mothers with preeclampsia or eclampsia and correlate the findings with the clinical severity of the disease, placental weight, and birth weights of the newborn babies.
"The mortality ratio due to eclampsia increased from 39 per 100,000 live births in BMMS 2010 to 46 per 100,000 live births in BMMS 2016 while the proportionate contribution of eclampsia to all maternal deaths increased from 20 percent to 24 percent," he added.
The findings could lead to inclusion of the doppler study of uterine arteries in routine anomaly scan for timely diagnosis of pre eclampsia, thus reducing perinatal morbidity and mortality.
All patients admitted as cases of eclampsia or who develop eclamptic convulsions after admissions in hospital whether antepartum, intrapartum or postpartum were included.
Multicenter screening for pre eclampsia and fetal growth restriction by transvaginal uterine artery Doppler at 23 weeks of gestation.
The latest Saving Mothers Report (SMR) (2011--2013) [3] indicates that eclampsia accounts for ~50% of deaths due to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP).
In Pakistan10 the prevalence of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia is reported around 19%.