Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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Eclapmsia: The major cause of maternal mortality in eastern India

R Das, S Biswas


BACKGROUND: Eclampsia is a very serious complication of pregnancy which is responsible for high maternal and perinatal mortality. Worldwide, it accounts for 50,000 maternal deaths annually. In spite of several global and regional interventions and initiatives from governments and other concerned agencies, maternal mortality is still very high in India, with eclampsia as a major cause. This study was conducted to determine the mode of deaths and incidence of maternal mortality associated with eclampsia and to assess how socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of the women influence the deaths.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a retrospective study of 111 eclampsia related maternal deaths over a period of 5 years from January 2008 to December 2012. Data pertaining to their age, parity, booking status, gestational age at delivery, and time interval from admission to death were also obtained from the records for analysis.
RESULTS: Eclampsia accounted for 43.35% of total maternal deaths, with case fatality of 4.960%. The commonest mode of death in eclampsia is pulmonary oedema. Death due to eclampsia commonly occurs in younger age group of 19-24 years and in primi gravid. Eclampsia related deaths were mostly seen in illiterate and unbooked cases. Maternal deaths were also very common in lower socio economic status.
CONCLUSION: Eclampsia still remains the major cause of maternal mortality in this region resulting from unsupervised pregnancies and deliveries. There is a need to educate and encourage the general public for antenatal care and hospital delivery by which we can defeat this powerful enemy.

KEYWORDS: Eclampsia; Matetnal mortality; Case fatality; Rural India
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