Eclampsia a 5 years retrospective review of 216 cases managed in two teaching hospitals in Addis Ababa.
OBJECTIVE: to measure the magnitude of eclampsia and its maternal and perinatal outcome. METHODS: A 5 years retrospective descriptive study was conducted on 216 eclamptic cases diagnosed, admitted and managed from October 1994 to September 1999 in the two teaching hospitals of Addis Ababa; namely Tikur Anbessa and St Paul's Hospitals. RESULTS: There were 257 mothers with eclampsia treated in the given period and 35741 deliveries making the incidence of eclampsia 7.1/1000 deliveries. Eighty-four women (38.9%) had any antenatal care, 157 (72.7%) were nulli-parous and 69 (31.8%) were aged below 20. Convulsion occurred ante-partum in 133 (61.6%), intrapartum in 49 (22.7%) and postpartum in 34 (15.7%) mothers. The most frequently sited symptoms before convulsion include headache in 83.8%, visual disturbance in 41.6% and epigastric pain in 38.4% of the cases. Ninety nine (45.8%) women were delivered by cesarean section making the cesarean section rate among eclamptic mothers significantly higher than the rate among the general population, which was 16.6% at the same period. (P = 0.0001). The multiple pregnancy rate was 5.7%, which was significantly higher than the rate among the general population of 1.5% at the same time. Seventy-four mothers had repeated convulsion after admission to the hospitals and initiation of the standard treatment. Twenty-eight mothers with eclampsia died making the case fatality rate 13%. Seven mothers (3.2%) died before delivery. Forty-four Stillbirths and twenty-five early neonatal deaths occurred making the perinatal mortality rate 312.2/1000 deliveries. CONCLUSION: Eclampsia is a common complication still associated with high level of maternal and perinatal mortality as well as morbidity. ANC coverage should be strengthened to detect preclampsia, and prevent eclampsia. Management in the hospital should be optimized to prevent recurrent convulsions and complications after admission.