Severe acute respiratory infection with influenza A (H1N1) during pregnancy

Langenegger, Eduard ; Coetzee, Andre ; Jacobs, Samier ; Le Roux, Alrisah ; Theron, Gerhard (2009-10)

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ABSTRACT FROM JOURNAL: Pregnant women are at high risk of severe acute respiratory infection if infected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus. On 14 August 2009 the first complicated H1N1 obstetric patient was admitted to the obstetric critical care unit (OCCU) at Tygerberg Hospital with respiratory distress. The clinical picture was that of bronchopneumonia, and she tested positive for H1N1. Subsequent pregnant patients admitted to the OCCU with respiratory compromise or flu symptoms were screened for the virus. Eleven days later 13 cases were confirmed. Five patients had acute lung injury and required ventilation and inotropic support. Three of the patients with acute lung injury subsequently died. Three patients required continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) support only, with no inotropics needed. The remaining 5 patients presented early, received oseltamivir within 48 hours and did not require critical care admission. All the patients admitted to the OCCU and the medical intensive care unit (ICU) initially presented with flu symptoms, respiratory distress and changes on the chest radiograph indicating an active diffuse pulmonary parenchymal process. Six patients underwent uncomplicated caesarean sections for fetal distress after they were stabilised. Maternal and neonatal outcomes varied. The key factor appears to be early clinical diagnosis and oseltamivir within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. The demographic data and maternal and fetal outcomes are set out in Table I.

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