December 24, 1973

Pathology of Toxaemia of Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Boston Hospital for Women Brookline, Mass


by H. L. Sheehan and J. B. Lynch, 807 pp, with illus, $47, Churchill Livingstone (Williams & Wilkins Co.), 1973.

JAMA. 1973;226(13):1574-1575. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230130062042

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This meticulous study reviews the autopsy material collected during a 20-year period (1927-1946) at the Glasgow Maternity Hospital, and from the Liverpool Maternity Hospital from 1946 onward. The toxemia cases consisted of 202 autopsies taken from a pool of 677 maternal deaths. The descriptive and numerical analysis of the gross and histological changes in each major organ is taken up in several chapters, each one devoted to an isolated histological element such as "Visceral Epithelium of The Glomeruli," or the "Glomerular Capsule." In addition, the less important organs are given separate chapters. In each area, comparisons are made to the "control" cases utilizing the other maternal autopsies.

This book could not have been written utilizing present-day autopsy material, for deaths from toxemia in a modern obstetrical care setting are virtually nonexistent. Thus, the book represents a museum piece of the variations in fatal eclampsia, a preventable disease. It is at