Journal Article

Clinical presentation and outcomes of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia at a national hospital, Kenya: A retrospective cohort study

Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy including pre-eclampsia are associated with maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. Early detection is vital for effective treatment and management of pre-eclampsia. This study examines and compares the clinical presentation and outcomes between early- and late-onset pre-eclampsia over a two year period.

A retrospective cohort study design which examines socio-demographic characteristics, treatment, outcomes, and fetal and maternal complications among women with early onset of pre-eclampsia (EO-PE) and late onset of pre-eclampsia (LO-PE). De-identified records of women who attended antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care services and experienced pre-eclampsia at Kenyatta National teaching and referral hospital were reviewed. We used chi square, t-test, and calculated odds ratio to determine any significant differences between the EO-PE and LO-PE cohorts.

Out of 620 pre-eclamptic and eclamptic patients’ records analyzed; 44 percent (n = 273) exhibited EO-PE, while 56 percent had late onset. Women with EO-PE compared to LO-PE had greater odds of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes including hemolysis elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome (OR: 4.3; CI 2.0–10.2; p < 0.001), renal dysfunction (OR; 1.7; CI 0.7–4.1; p = 0.192), stillbirth (OR = 4.9; CI 3.1–8.1; p < 0.001), and neonatal death (OR: 8.5; CI 3.8–21.3; p < 0.001). EO-PE was also associated with higher odds of prolonged maternal hospitalization, beyond seven days (OR = 5.8; CI 3.9–8.4; p < 0.001), and antepartum hemorrhage (OR = 5.8; CI 1.1–56.4; p < 0.001). Neonates born after early onset of pre-eclampsia had increased odds of respiratory distress (OR = 17.0; CI 9.0–32.3, p < 0.001) and birth asphyxia (OR: 1.9; CI 0.7–4.8; p = 0.142).

The profiles and outcomes of women with EO-PE (compared to late onset) suggest that seriousness of morbidity increases with earlier onset. To reduce adverse neonatal and maternal outcomes, it is critical to identify, manage, referral and closely follow-up pregnant women with pre-eclampsia throughout the pregnancy continuum.