The maternal coagulation mechanism has been investigated in an effort to identify its role, if any, in the pathogenesis of eclampsia. Thrombocytopenia was identified in 28 of 95 cases (29 per cent), a prolonged thrombin time in 19 of 38 (50 per cent), abnormally elevated serum fibrinogen fibrin degradation products in two of 65 (3 per cent), and circulating fibrin monomer in one out of 20 (5 per cent). Overt hemolysis was rare (2 per cent). Thus the pattern as well as the degree of change in the maternal coagulation mechanism differed remarkably from that typical of severe abruptio placentae and of prolonged retention of a dead fetus, the classic obstetric models of fast and slow disseminated intravascular coagulation. It is concluded that the coagulation changes when present in eclampsia are effect rather than cause. Moreover, the changes may evolve primarily from platelet adherence at sites of vascular endothelial damage as the consequence of segmental vasospasm and vasodilatation rather than be triggered by the escape of thromboplastin from the placenta into the maternal circulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology