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January 28, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(4):251-255. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960390001001

• The convulsive stage of eclamptogenic toxemia has been gradually eliminated in three hospitals over a period of 20 years, despite the fact that eclampsia remains one of the three most common causes of maternal mortality in the country as a whole.

The improvement is related to the increasing frequency with which toxemia is recognized and the systematic attention given to it. The mild nonconvulsive forms of toxemia, found and treated early, are without much danger. It is the convulsive stage of the disease that does irreversible or fatal damage. A simple program of management that has been developed must be brought to bear as soon as toxic symptoms appear and must be continued until the symptoms are brought under control or the patient is delivered.

The program includes strict prenatal care, hospitalization if ambulatory care proves insufficient, induction of labor if the toxemia progresses, and cesarean section if certain indications exist. Although more knowledge of this disease is needed, the means for preventing most of the deaths that now occur are already available.