THE WEST MIDLANDS “SEVERE HYPERTENSIVE ILLNESS IN PREGNANCY” (SHIP) AUDIT
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OBJECTIVE: To study the management of a series of women presenting with acute-onset hypertension in the 21 maternity units in the West Midlands region, in order to measure the standard of care and the outcomes of these patients and their babies. DESIGN: Multicenter audit. SETTING: Twenty-one Maternity Units in the West Midlands region with 85,658 births during the audit period. METHODS: Prospective data collection by named coordinators (multidisciplinary) in each unit using customized proformas. The proformas were then forwarded to the Research Coordinator for input onto a database and observational analyses. RESULTS: The total number of cases was 516. Eighty-one percent were diagnosed as having severe preeclampsia, 14% HELLP syndrome, and 5% eclampsia. Seven percent were admitted to the intensive therapy unit. Seventy percent of births were preterm, 62% of babies were low birth weight (< 2.5 kg), 57% of babies were admitted to the neonatal unit, and the perinatal mortality rate was 5%. The commonest antihypertensive agents were hydralazine and nifedipine. In terms of compliance with audit standards, 61% had both oxygen saturation and noninvasive blood pressure monitoring, 47% had good fluid balance documentation, and 79% had no fluid mismanagement. Seventy-four percent were seen by a consultant obstetrician, 62% were seen by a member of an "expert team," 83% adhered to local guidelines, and 71% of eclamptics received magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). CONCLUSION: Our study shows that severe hypertensive illness of pregnancy remains an important cause of maternal mortality and perinatal mortality. This audit highlights areas in which standards of care can be improved.
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