Speeding up treatment for pregnancy-related hypertension

An initiative developed by Cedars-Sinai investigators improves the timeliness of treatment for women with severe pregnancy-related hypertension, one of the leading causes of pregnancy-related death.

Under the new treatment protocol, detailed in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, nearly 95% of patients were treated within 30 minutes of confirmed severe hypertension. Speeding up treatment reduces the risk of maternal stroke and other morbidity, compared to the current national standard of treating pregnant hypertension patients within 30 to 60 minutes of confirmed diagnosis.

Investigators also found that while Black, Asian and Hispanic women were more likely than white women to experience severe pregnancy-related hypertension, race and ethnicity did not play a role in the timeliness of treatment.

“We are constantly looking to develop strategies to decrease both severe maternal morbidity and mortality, while identifying ways of narrowing the racial disparity gap,” said John Ozimek, DO, the director of Labor & Delivery and the Maternal-Fetal Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai and first author of the study. “One of the ways that we can minimize, or at least decrease risk of complication from severe hypertension, is by recognizing and treating it quickly.”

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy include chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia-eclampsia, and chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia. In the U.S., all remain a significant cause of severe maternal morbidity that accounts for approximately 7% of pregnancy-related deaths. And for Black women, pregnancy-related death ratios are more than three times higher than those of white women.

To help overcome some of these issues, the team at Cedars-Sinai looked to improve the timely treatment of severe hypertension that can specifically target and address interventions to possibly improve these outcomes.

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