Acute pulmonary edema in an obstetric intensive care unit: A case series study

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Acute pulmonary edema (PE) affects 0.08% to 1.5% of women during pregnancy and in the postpartum. At the Instituto de Medicina Integral Prof. Fernando Figueira (IMIP), acute PE accounts for 1.5% of admissions to the obstetric intensive care unit (ICU) and occurs in 9.3% of the patients admitted with near miss criteria. This study was conducted to describe the clinical/epidemiological profile of patients with acute PE in IMIP's obstetric ICU.

A case series of 50 patients with acute PE in an obstetric ICU in northeastern Brazil between August 2012 and March 2015. Frequency distribution and measures of central tendency/dispersion were calculated using Epi Info, version 7.1.5.

The mean age of the women was 27.2 years; 60% were from Recife; 50% had 8 to 11 years of schooling; 54.0% were primigravidas. Acute PE occurred antepartum (58%), postpartum (38%), or intrapartum (4.0%). Overall, 8% had had previous episodes; 6% relapsed during hospitalization; 4% died. Caesarean sections were common (78.0%), with 73.3% delivering at <37 weeks and 39.0% at <34 weeks. Etiologies were hypertensive (62%), cardiogenic (16.0%), both hypertensive and cardiogenic (20.0%) or due to fluid overload (2.0%). Irrespective of etiology, in the 24 hours preceding acute PE, fluid overload was present in 34.0%. Median time from diagnosis until resuscitation maneuvers was 5 minutes (within 30 minutes of diagnosis in 75.0% of patients). Mean ICU time was 5 days and mean hospitalization time 11 days.

Acute PE is a severe disease resulting in high maternal/perinatal morbidity/mortality rates. Most commonly, it occurred antepartum and associated with hypertension. Fluid overload appears to constitute an important trigger.

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