The incidence of pregnancy hypertension in India, Pakistan, Mozambique, and Nigeria: A prospective population-level analysis

by Laura A. Magee, Sumedha Sharma, Hannah L. Nathan, Olalekan O. Adetoro, Mrutynjaya B. Bellad, Shivaprasad Goudar, Salécio E. Macuacua, Ashalata Mallapur, Rahat Qureshi, Esperança Sevene, John Sotunsa, Anifa Valá, Tang Lee, Beth A. Payne, Marianne Vidler, Andrew H. Shennan, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Peter von Dadelszen, the CLIP Study Group

Background

Most pregnancy hypertension estimates in less-developed countries are from cross-sectional hospital surveys and are considered overestimates. We estimated population-based rates by standardised methods in 27 intervention clusters of the Community-Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) cluster randomised trials.

Methods and findings

CLIP-eligible pregnant women identified in their homes or local primary health centres (2013–2017). Included here are women who had delivered by trial end and received a visit from a community health worker trained to provide supplementary hypertension-oriented care, including standardised blood pressure (BP) measurement. Hypertension (BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg) was defined as chronic (first detected at <20 weeks gestation) or gestational (≥20 weeks); pre-eclampsia was gestational hypertension plus proteinuria or a pre-eclampsia-defining complication. A multi-level regression model compared hypertension rates and types between countries (p < 0.05 considered significant). In 28,420 pregnancies studied, women were usually young (median age 23–28 years), parous (53.7%–77.3%), with singletons (≥97.5%), and enrolled at a median gestational age of 10.4 (India) to 25.9 weeks (Mozambique). Basic education varied (22.8% in Pakistan to 57.9% in India). Pregnancy hypertension incidence was lower in Pakistan (9.3%) than India (10.3%), Mozambique (10.9%), or Nigeria (10.2%) (p = 0.001). Most hypertension was diastolic only (46.4% in India, 72.7% in Pakistan, 61.3% in Mozambique, and 63.3% in Nigeria). At first presentation with elevated BP, gestational hypertension was most common diagnosis (particularly in Mozambique [8.4%] versus India [6.9%], Pakistan [6.5%], and Nigeria [7.1%]; p < 0.001), followed by pre-eclampsia (India [3.8%], Nigeria [3.0%], Pakistan [2.4%], and Mozambique [2.3%]; p < 0.001) and chronic hypertension (especially in Mozambique [2.5%] and Nigeria [2.8%], compared with India [1.2%] and Pakistan [1.5%]; p < 0.001). Inclusion of additional diagnoses of hypertension and related complications, from household surveys or facility record review (unavailable in Nigeria), revealed higher hypertension incidence: 14.0% in India, 11.6% in Pakistan, and 16.8% in Mozambique; eclampsia was rare (<0.5%).

Conclusions

Pregnancy hypertension is common in less-developed settings. Most women in this study presented with gestational hypertension amenable to surveillance and timed delivery to improve outcomes.

Trial registration

This study is a secondary analysis of a clinical trial – ClinicalTrials.gov registration number NCT01911494.

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