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Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10) : e281
Dengue haemorrhagic fever
complicated by eclampsia
in pregnancy
Tagore S, Yim C F, Kwek K

A 28-year-old primigravida presented A 28-year-old primigravida presented at 36 weeks
at 36 weeks of gestation with a one-week with irregular contractions, fever with myalgia,
history of fever with myalgia. Diagnosis and dysuria of one-week duration. Her obstetrical
of dengue fever was made based on viral history included an earlier admission at 35 weeks with
polymerase chain reaction. She progressed threatened preterm labour, for which she had been
to dengue shock syndrome by day nine treated with tocolysis, dexamethasone and
and subsequently recovered. She delivered was well at discharge. Apart from this, her
a healthy male baby by the vaginal route, antenatal follow-up was otherwise uneventful. On
but within 24 hours of delivery, had an examination, she was febrile (38.4°C), had a pulse
eclamptic seizure, which was controlled rate of 105/min, and blood pressure of 122/65 mmHg.
with intravenous magnesium sulphate. Vaginal examination revealed a closed cervix.
Mother and the baby were well at Cardiotocograph (CTG) was reactive and showed
discharge and on the follow-up visit at irregular contractions.
three months.
She was admitted to the labour ward and was started on intravenous ampicillin and gentamicin. Keywords: dengue haemorrhagic fever, Symptomatic and supportive treatment was initiated,
dengue shock syndrome, eclampsia, pregnancy and the diagnosis of dengue fever was subsequently
confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10):e281–e283 Her blood and urine cultures were negative. Platelet count was 258,000/uL. Her temperature rose to a InTRoDuCTIon
maximum of 38.8°C and she was closely monitored The global prevalence of dengue infection has grown with daily full blood counts, urea, electrolyte and Division of
dramatically in recent decades. It remains a major
Obstetrics and
liver function tests. On the fifth day of her admission, Gynaecology,
concern in public health, mainly in tropical and her platelet level dropped to 21,000/uL and her KK Women’s and
Children’s Hospital,
subtropical areas of the world. It is caused by four blood pressure fell to 74/47 mmHg, without evidence 100 Bukit Timah
dengue virus serotypes of the genus Flavivirus, and
of active bleeding. A diagnosis of dengue shock syndrome Singapore 229899
transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Infection was made, and she was transferred to the intensive care provides immunity against the infecting viral unit for monitoring. Platelet count dropped further to MD, MRCOG serotype, but not against the other serotypes. Clinical 15,000/uL, and prothrombin time was prolonged. features of dengue fever vary according to the age On day eight, she had vaginal bleeding of Department of
of the patient. Infants and children may have a Maternal-Foetal
approximately 200 ml. Her abdomen was soft, non- Medicine
non-specific febrile illness with rash, whereas adults tender, and her os cervix was 2 cm dilated and partially Kwek K, MBBS, may have either a mild febrile syndrome or severe effaced. CTG was satisfactory. Normal vaginal MMed, MRCOG,disease with abrupt onset of high fever, headache, delivery was planned as there was no obstetrical Head muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. The major indication for surgical intervention. Her full blood complications include dengue haemorrhagic fever Department of
count showed a haemoglobin level of 8.0 g/L, and Women’s Anaesthesia
and dengue shock syndrome, with rare manifestations prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time Yim CF, MBBS, of encephalopathy and cardiomyopathy.(1) Pre- (PT/PTT) values were prolonged. She was MMedeclampsia is a mutisystem disorder and may transfused with platelets and fresh frozen cause thrombocytopenia, encephalopathy and plasma. By day nine, her platelet count improved to Correspondence to:
cardiomyopathy. Concomitant dengue fever during 41,000/L and no further bleeding was noted. A total Tel: (65) 6293 4044pregnancy may give rise to a clinical dilemma in of nine units of platelets, eleven units of fresh frozen Email: shephul@ terms of diagnosis and the timing of delivery.
plasma and one unit of packed red blood cells were Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10) : e282
transfused during this time. Two days later she went management was continued in the absence of into spontaneous labour and had normal vaginal maternal or foetal compromise. She had an uneventful delivery. A baby boy weighing 2,560 g, was born with vaginal delivery on day 11 after the acute phase an apgar score of nine at one and five minutes. She of dengue and increasing trend of platelet count. remained apyrexial, haemodynamically stable and Dengue PCR of the baby was negative. was transferred to general ward.
Pre-eclampsia has been reported previously 22 hours after delivery, she developed generalised in intrapartum dengue fever.(7) In the present case, tonic-clonic seizures. She was intubated for airway the patient developed generalised tonic-clonic maintenance and subsequently managed in the intensive seizures within 24 hours of delivery. At that point, the care unit. Her blood pressure during the episode possibility of encephalopathy (in relation to dengue) was normal but she was hyper-reflexic with clonus. was considered, but encephalopathy usually occurs Computed tomography (CT) of the brain was in the febrile stage.(8) Occasionally, it may occur as a unremarkable, except for evidence of ischaemia consequence of intracranial haemorrhage, cerebral in the parietal and bilateral frontal lobes. The oedema or anoxia, micropapillary haemorrhage or neurological working diagnosis was posterior even with release of toxic products.(9) CT of the reversible encephalopathy secondary to eclampsia. brain, done after the seizure, revealed only focal Intravenous magnesium sulphate therapy was instituted. ischaemic areas. Moreover, although the blood Platelet count was 87,000/uL and haemoglobin level pressure was normal during the episode, hyper- was 10 g/L. Serum AST (66 mmol/L) and urinary total reflexia and raised urinary proteins were present. protein (0.77 g/day) were raised, although uric acid The pathogenesis of a marginal rise in blood remained normal. Her blood pressure was elevated pressure, especially 48 hours after the eclamptic to 136/85 – 140/95 mmHg at 48 hours post-fit, and episode with other signs of eclampsia, remains was controlled with nifedipine. She recovered with unclear. The possible mechanism of the blood supportive care and the follow-up CT of the brain was pressure response as well as the eclamptic fits normal. At the three-month follow-up visit, she had may be the results of a residual post-dengue leaky no neurological deficit, and the baby was well.
vasodilatory state. Conventionally, eclampsia is diagnosed with hypertension, proteinuria and convulsions. DISCuSSIon
However, signs may be wide, ranging from severe Dengue infection is prevalent in tropical Asia, and hypertension to even absent or minimal hypertension, it is an important differential diagnosis in patients no proteinuria and oedema.(10) In most cases, postpartum presenting with fever.(1) Early diagnosis of dengue convulsions usually occurs within 48 hours, although fever is essential, as appropriate supportive treatment in some patients, it may develop beyond 48 hours, can be initiated early.(2) The pathophysiology of requiring extensive neurological evaluation.(11-13) severe dengue fever (WHO classifies this as dengue To our knowledge, this is the first documented case haemorrhagic fever [DHF]) is a transient increase in of dengue fever complicated by eclampsia in pregnancy. vascular permeability resulting in plasma leakage. In As the average age of dengue infections increases, severe cases, circulation is compromised, potentially it is possible that more pregnant women will be resulting in hypovolaemic shock and even demise, exposed.(2) It is thus important for the obstetrician without appropriate management. Patients with DHF to be aware of the need for early diagnosis to initiate can also have abnormal blood coagulation, but major appropriate management.
haemorrhage is unusual except in association with REFEREnCES
The management of dengue infection in pregnancy 1. Deen JL, Harris E, Wills B, et al. The WHO dengue classification and case definitions: time for a reassessment. Lancet 2006; is conservative, and intervention is needed only for obstetrical indications.(3) Previous case series on 2. Waduge R, Malavige GN, Pradeepan M, et al . Dengue infections during pregnancy: a case series from Sri Lanka and review of dengue fever in pregnancy reported complications of the literature. J Clin Virol 2006; 37:27-33.
preterm labour, abruption and severe haemorrhage 3. Phupong V. Dengue fever in pregnancy: case report. BMC during caesarean section. Foetal problems include 4. Carles G, Talarmin A, Peneau C, Bertsch M. [Dengue fever and preterm birth, intrauterine death, and acute foetal pregnancy. A study of 38 cases in french Guiana]. J Gynecol distress during labour.(4) Vertical transmission has also Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris) 2000; 29:758-62. French.
5. Witayathawornwong P. Parturient and perinatal dengue been described.(4-6) Our patient had vaginal bleeding, hemorrhagic fever. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2003; without clinical or ultrasonographical evidence of placental abruption and was hence managed supportively 6. Janjindamai W, Pruekprasert P. Perinatal dengue infection: a case report and review of literature. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public with platelet and blood transfusions. Conservative Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10) : e283
7. Bunyavejchevin S, Tanawattanacharoen S, Taechakraichana N, 10. ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins--Obstetrics. ACOG practice et al. Dengue hemorrhagic fever during pregnancy: antepartum, bulletin. Diagnosis and management of preeclampsia and eclampsia. intrapartum and postpartum management. J Obstet Gynaecol Res 11. Mattar F, Sibai BM. Eclampsia. VIII. Risk factors for maternal 8. Chotmongkol V, Sawanyawisuth K. Case report: Dengue morbidity. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2000; 182:307-12.
hemorrhagic fever with encephalopathy in an adult. Southeast Asian 12. Chames MC, Livingston JC, Invester TS, Barton JR, Sibai BM. Late J Trop Med Public Health 2004; 35:160-1.
postpartum eclampsia: a preventable disease? Am J Obstet Gynecol 9. de Souza LJ, Martins AL, Paravidini PC, et al. Hemorrhagic encephalopathy in dengue shock syndrome: a case report. Braz J Infect 13. Lubarsky SL, Barton JR, Friedman SA, et al. Late postpartum eclampsia revisited. Obstet Gynecol 1994; 83:502-5.


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