What is the incidence of cognitive deficits following eclampsia?

Updated: Apr 18, 2019
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Although some women who have had eclampsia or preeclampsia have reported subsequent cognitive difficulties even years later, a long-term follow-up study by Postma et al utilizing standardized testing was unable to find objective evidence of such problems. The reported neurocognitive difficulties have seemingly been associated with concentration and memory, as well as with vision-related tasks of daily living. In the study, 46 women who had been eclamptic and 51 who had been preeclamptic were given neurocognitive tests an average of about seven years following the index pregnancy; 48 controls, who had normotensive pregnancies, were also involved. [28, 29]

The eclamptic and preeclamptic women in the study did not perform as well as the controls on motor-function tests. (They also performed more poorly on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.) However, they scored similarly to the control subjects with regard to attention, executive functioning, visual perception, and working and long-term memory. The investigators suggested that the reported cognitive difficulties in previously eclamptic or preeclamptic women occur during complex, stressful situations of daily life and may be exacerbated by anxiety and depression. [28, 29]

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