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AHRQ Issues Evidence Report on the Management of Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy

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Press Release Date: October 11, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announces the availability of an evidence report on the management of chronic hypertension in pregnancy. AHRQ's San Antonio Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) was asked to conduct a systematic review and analysis of the current literature on chronic hypertension during pregnancy, including evidence regarding risks of chronic hypertension, benefits and adverse effects of pharmacotherapy, nonpharmacological treatment, and monitoring techniques.

Chronic hypertension, defined as hypertension diagnosed before pregnancy or before 20 weeks' gestation, is a complication in 1 to 5 percent of all pregnancies. It is associated with serious maternal and fetal complications, including preeclampsia, premature delivery and stillbirth. The EPC found insufficient high quality research to answer its questions and made a number of recommendations about future research. However, the EPC did find weak evidence that several specific antihypertensive medications have been associated with specific adverse events to the fetus. In addition, the EPC found that low-dose aspirin, which often is used to prevent preeclampsia, does not significantly reduce the risk of that complication.

A 4-page summary of Evidence Report/Technology Assessment Number 14, The Management of Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy, is available online at Print copies of the summary and the full report are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by writing to P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907, or calling 800-358-9295 within the U.S. or (703) 437-2078 from outside the country.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (

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