Forty-three women with neurological complications secondary to eclampsia or severe pre-eclampsia were studied by CT scanning and in six intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring was carried out. In seven women who died, neuropathological findings were correlated with clinical features. Cerebral oedema was present in 27 of the patients studied and the severity of oedema correlated to the duration of intermittent seizures. In five of the six women who had ICP measured, this was found to be transiently high. Intracranial haemorrhage was demonstrated in four of the 43 women, all of whom died. Hypoxic-ischaemic cerebral damage and fibrinoid necrosis were the most important neuropathological lesions identified. The management of neurological complications of eclampsia may be placed upon a more rational basis by an understanding of the mechanisms responsible for these lesions.
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