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October 10, 1994

Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy in Southwestern Navajo Indians

Author Affiliations

From the Georgetown Medical School, Washington, DC (Dr Levy), and School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich (Drs Jacober and Sowers).

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(19):2181-2183. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420190080009

Background:  The Navajos are the largest Native American tribe. They, like other Native Americans, appear to be in an "epidemiologic transition" and are accordingly experiencing increased rates of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Methods:  A retrospective chart review of all pregnancies in 1991 at the Crownpoint Indian Health Service Facility in Crownpoint, NM, was conducted to determine the prevalence of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in this Navajo population.

Results:  Seventy-five (12.6%) of 594 pregnancies were associated with a hypertensive disorder. There were 18 individuals who developed gestational hypertension and 10 individuals with chronic hypertension that persisted during pregnancy. There were 46 women (7.7%) who developed preeclampsia and one woman (0.3%) who developed eclampsia. Eight women (1.4%) with chronic hypertension developed superimposed preeclampsia during pregnancy. Thus, 12.3% of these pregnancies in Navajo women were associated with the development of, or worsening, hypertension, and there was a prevalence of preeclampsia of 9.1%.

Conclusion:  The Navajos exhibit a high prevalence of pregnancy-related hypertension and preeclampsia.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:2181-2183)

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