Key messages

• Eclamptic convulsions are due to localized cerebral vasoconstriction and hypoxia.

• The maternal case fatality rate from eclampsia in the United Kingdom is 1.8 per cent; 30 per cent will have major morbidity.

• Magnesium sulfate is the optimal drug to treat and prevent seizures.

• The ultimate treatment of eclampsia is delivery, but this should only be undertaken once seizures are controlled, severe hypertension is treated, and hypoxia is corrected.

• Eclamptic patients are at increased risk of developing hypertension and eclampsia in a subsequent pregnancy. Introduction

Eclampsia is the occurrence of convulsions in association with the syndrome of pre-eclampsia. The incidence of eclampsia in the United Kingdom is 4.9 per 10 000

maternities (Douglas and Redman 19.9.4), and comparable rates have been reported from the United States. There is little evidence in the United Kingdom that the incidence of the disease has changed substantially over the last 30 years ( D,o.y.g.!§s §.D.d B§dm.a.D 1994).

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