Pulmonary hypertension and pregnancy: a series of eight cases
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This is the report of a series of eight patients with pulmonary hypertension (primary and secondary) who delivered at the McMaster University Medical Centre between 1978 and 1987. Seven of the eight patients delivered vaginally and had a successful outcome. The eighth patient was admitted as an emergency and died shortly after Caesarean section under general anaesthesia, performed to save the infant. The other seven patients were all managed by a team, including anaesthetists, cardiologists and obstetricians, from about 25 wk. The patients were hospitalized pre-partum and received oxygen therapy and anticoagulation with heparin. Analgesia in labour was managed, once anticoagulation was reversed, by low concentrations of epidural bupivacaine (0.125%-0.375%) and fentanyl. The patients were monitored during labour and delivery with oximetry and arterial and central venous pressure lines. Pulmonary arterial lines were not used because of increased risk and questionable usefulness. Vaginal delivery was managed with vacuum extraction or forceps lift-out to minimize the stress of pushing. After delivery, all patients were monitored in an intensive care unit for several days, anticoagulation was restarted, and all patients were discharged home taking oral anticoagulant therapy. The successful management of pulmonary hypertension in pregnancy should include team management started early in pregnancy and controlled vaginal delivery utilizing epidural analgesia.
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