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Hydralazine For Treatment Of Severe Hypertension In Pregnancy: Meta-Analysis

Laura A. Magee, Chris Cham, Elizabeth J. Waterman, Arne Ohlsson and Peter von Dadelszen
BMJ: British Medical Journal
Vol. 327, No. 7421 (Oct. 25, 2003), pp. 955-960
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25457579
Page Count: 6
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Hydralazine For Treatment Of Severe Hypertension In Pregnancy: Meta-Analysis
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Abstract

Objective To review outcomes in randomised controlled trials comparing hydralazine against other antihypertensives for severe hypertension in pregnancy. Study design Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (published between 1966 and September 2002) of short acting antihypertensives for severe hypertension in pregnancy. Independent data abstraction by two reviewers. Data were entered into RevMan software for analysis (fixed effects model, relative risk and 95% confidence interval); in a secondary analysis, risk difference was also calculated. Results Of 21 trials (893 women), eight compared hydralazine with nifedipine and five with labetalol. Hydralazine was associated with a trend towards less persistent severe hypertension than labetalol (relative risk 0.29 (95% confidence interval 0.08 to 1.04); two trials), but more severe hypertension than nifedipine or isradipine (1.41 (0.95 to 2.09); four trials); there was significant heterogeneity in outcome between trials and differences in methodological quality. Hydralazine was associated with more maternal hypotension (3.29 (1.50 to 7.13); 13 trials); more caesarean sections (1.30 (1.08 to 1.59); 14 trials); more placental abruption (4.17 (1.19 to 14.28); five trials); more maternal oliguria (4.00 (1.22 to 12.50); three trials); more adverse effects on fetal heart rate (2.04 (1.32 to 3.16); 12 trials); and more low Apgar scores at one minute (2.70 (1.27 to 5.88); three trials). For all but Apgar scores, analysis by risk difference showed heterogeneity between trials. Hydralazine was associated with more maternal side effects (1.50 (1.16 to 1.94); 12 trials) and with less neonatal bradycardia than labetalol (risk difference -0.24 (-0.42 to -0.06); three trials). Conclusions The results are not robust enough to guide clinical practice, but they do not support use of hydralazine as first line for treatment of severe hypertension in pregnancy. Adequately powered clinical trials are needed, with a comparison of labetalol and nifedipine showing the most promise.

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