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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 78

of 'Critical illness during pregnancy and the peripartum period'

Aims of obstetric critical care management.
Price LC, Slack A, Nelson-Piercy C
Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2008;22(5):775.
The aims of critical care management are broad. Critical illness in pregnancy is especially pertinent as the patient is usually young and previously fit, and management decisions must also consider the fetus. Assessment must consider the normal physiological changes of pregnancy, which may complicate diagnosis of disease and scoring levels of severity. Pregnant women may present with any medical or surgical problem, as well as specific pathologies unique to pregnancy that may be life threatening, including pre-eclampsia and hypertension, thromboembolic disease and massive obstetric haemorrhage. There are also increasing numbers of pregnancies in those with high-risk medical conditions such as cardiac disease. As numbers are small and clinical trials in pregnancy are not practical, management in most cases relies on general intensive care principles extrapolated from the non-pregnant population. This chapter will outline the aims of management in an organ-system-based approach, focusing on important general principles of critical care management with considerations for the pregnant and puerperal patient.
Adult ICU, St George's Hospital, London, UK. lauracprice@hotmail.com