Intrapartum treatment of preeclamptic hypertension by ketanserin
Ketanserin was administered intravenously as either 20 or 10 mg boluses to 16 patients with severe preeclampsia in labor. The fetal heart rate was monitored with a scalp electrode and the uterine contractions were evaluated with a fluid-filled catheter connected to a physiologic pressure transducer. A 10-minute recording before every administration of ketanserin was compared to the same period immediately afterward. Ketanserin lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly (p < 0.005, paired Student's t test). Maternal heart rate was unchanged but the mean fetal heart rate increased by 4.6 bpm. Long-term beat-to-beat variability and acceleration patterns were not affected. On four occasions an improvement in variable decelerations of the fetal heart, due to a reduction in uterine activity, was seen. Changes in the amplitude of contractions were not statistically significant. The freqency of contractions, however, was significantly reduced from 3.6 to 2.4 per 10 minutes (p < 0.005). No serious adverse effects occurred.