Obstetric patients admitted to the intensive care unit of Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa

M Motiang


Background. Pregnancy is a natural physiological process that normally ends uneventfully. However, there are instances where admission to an intensive care (ICU) is required.

Objectives. To determine the spectrum of disease requiring ICU admission in obstetric patients, condition on discharge, maternal mortality, and the cause of maternal death.

Methods. A retrospective study of all pregnant and postpartum patients admitted from January 2008 to December 2011 was conducted. Outcome measures were the spectrum of disease, ICU interventions, and maternal outcomes.

Results. In total, 210 patients were reviewed. The mean age was 28.15 (standard deviation (SD) 6.97) years. Twelve (5.7%) patients were admitted at a mean (SD) gestational age of 25.33 (6.56) weeks, 94.2% (n=198) were postpartum, and 88.6% (n=186) were post-caesarean section. Pre-existing cardiac disease (44.3%, n=93), eclampsia and preeclampsia (20%, n=42), obstetric haemorrhage (16.2%, n=34), and pulmonary oedema (6.2%, n=13) were the most common causes of admission. Sixty-one percent (n=128) of patients received ventilatory support. The median length of ICU stay was 24 hours (range 1 - 17 days). Eighty-seven percent (n=183) of the patients were haemodynamically stable. Maternal mortality was 9% (n=19).

Conclusion. Cardiac disease in pregnancy was the most common diagnosis in patients admitted to our ICU, followed by eclampsia and preeclampsia. Most of the patients (87.1%) were haemodynamically stable and needed minimal intervention, as confirmed by their short periods of stay in ICU. Although the mortality rate in our institution was higher than that observed in developed countries, it was lower than rates reported in other South African studies. This study has found that many of the patients were admitted to ICU for monitoring purposes only and did not require ICU level of care.

Author's affiliations

M Motiang, Department of Intensive Care, Sefako Makgatho Health Science University, Pretoria, South Africa

Full Text



obstetrics, pregnancy, critically ill

Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2017;33(1):12-14. DOI:10.7196/279

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-05-04
Date published: 2017-07-11

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