Show Summary Details
Page of

Obstetric intensive care 

Obstetric intensive care
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 December 2020

Pregnant patients constitute less than 1% of intensive care unit admissions, and fewer than 1% of obstetric patients become critically ill. Critical illness may result from pregnancy-specific diseases, diseases that pregnancy predisposes to, or are co-incidental to pregnancy. The presence of a second patient—the foetus—may necessitate adjustments to therapeutic and supportive strategies. However, the foetus is generally robust despite maternal illness. The physiological changes of pregnancy are significant, but may delay the diagnosis of critical illness, requiring modifications to standard management approaches. These include increases in minute ventilation, resulting in a ‘low normal’ PaCO2, a reduction in mean arterial pressure, but increased heart rate, low serum creatinine, relative hypoglycaemia, relative leukocytosis, and reduced lower oesophageal sphincter tone. Pre-eclampsia is a disease of the uteroplacental unit that results in abnormal maternal physiology. Pregnant women are at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome, due to gastropulmonary aspiration and increased risk of community-acquired pneumonia, sepsis, principally of the genito-urinary system, and thromboembolic disease.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.