Controversies Regarding Diagnosis and Treatment of Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy

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Abstract

The objective of management of severe hypertension in pregnancy is not for the return of normal blood pressure but rather reduction of blood pressure to a level associated with a decreased risk of end-organ damage including cerebral, cardiac, or renal dysfunction. The parenteral agents labetalol and hydralazine are currently the most widely recommended antihypertensive agents for acute reductions of elevated blood pressure related to preeclampsia. Overcorrection of blood pressure with any antihypertensive agent is possible resulting in reduced uteroplacental blood flow, but is more likely to be encountered in patients <32 weeks’ gestation and in those whose fetuses have intrauterine growth retardation.

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