A one year review of eclampsia in an Ethiopian Tertiary Care Center (Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, SPHMMC)

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Eclampsia remains one of the five major causes of maternal mortality in developing countries. Advances in diagnosis and management have led to a significant reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity from this disease in developed countries. In developing countries the incidence of maternal death attributed to eclampsia remains high and, in Ethiopia, maternal mortality from this complication has instead risen over the last decade. The purpose of this study was to review the incidence of eclampsia at the largest feto-maternal center in the country over 1 year in an attempt to determine what quality improvement measures are needed and could realistically be implemented within the system to decrease this complication. There were a total of 104 eclamptic patients during the study period. The hospital incidence of eclampsia was 82/10,000 deliveries excluding those arriving to the hospital in the postpartum period (28 cases). There were eight maternal deaths making the case fatality rate one in 13 cases. The median convulsion to arrival time, referral to arrival time and magnesium sulphate administration time were found to be 3, 2 and 3 h, respectively. The probability of multiple seizures (≥3 episodes) was increased significantly with the prolongation of these time variables. Occurrence of multiple seizures was in turn significantly associated with adverse maternal outcomes (ICU admission, morbidities and mortalities). As expected, there was a high incidence of eclampsia and eclampsia related maternal death in the hospital. We recommend a thorough assessment of the referral system, upgrading and capacity building of more health facilities, organizing trainings and drills in health facilities; and availing magnesium sulphate in all health centers among others.

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