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Preeclampsia: Clinical features and diagnosis

Phyllis August, MD, MPH
Baha M Sibai, MD
Section Editor
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Preeclampsia is a multi-system progressive disorder characterized by the new onset of hypertension and proteinuria or hypertension and end-organ dysfunction with or without proteinuria in the last half of pregnancy or postpartum (table 1). The disorder is caused by placental and maternal vascular dysfunction and always resolves after delivery. Although most affected pregnancies deliver at term or near term with good maternal and fetal outcomes, these pregnancies are at increased risk for maternal and/or fetal mortality or serious morbidity. In addition, women with preeclampsia are at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease.

This topic will discuss the clinical features, diagnosis, and differential diagnosis of preeclampsia. Other important issues related to this disease are reviewed separately.

(See "Preeclampsia: Pathogenesis".)

(See "Preeclampsia: Management and prognosis".)

(See "Early pregnancy prediction of preeclampsia".)


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