Which physical findings are characteristic of eclampsia?

Updated: Apr 18, 2019
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Most patients with eclampsia present with hypertension and seizures, along with some combination of proteinuria and edema. Findings at physical examination may include the following:

  • Sustained systolic BP greater than 160 mm Hg or diastolic BP greater than 110 mm Hg

  • Tachycardia

  • Tachypnea

  • Rales

  • Mental status changes

  • Hyperreflexia

  • Clonus

  • Papilledema

  • Oliguria or anuria

  • Localizing neurologic deficits

  • Right upper quadrant or epigastric abdominal tenderness

  • Generalized edema

  • Small fundal height for the estimated gestational age

  • Apprehension

Cervical examination of the patient with eclampsia should not be overlooked, because the delivery mode may largely depend upon the patient’s cervical status.

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