Clinical practice patterns on the use of magnesium sulphate for treatment of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia: a multi-country survey

Q. Long, O.T. Oladapo, S. Leathersich, J.P. Vogel, G. Carroli, P. Lumbiganon, Z. Qureshi, A.M. Gülmezoglu, on behalf of the WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health Research Network

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Objective: To characterise the current clinical practice patterns regarding the use of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) for eclampsia prevention and treatment in a multi-country network of health facilities and compare with international recommendations. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: A total of 147 health facilities in 15 countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia. Population: Heads of obstetric departments or maternity units. Methods: Anonymous online and paper-based survey conducted in 2015. Main outcome measures: Availability and use of MgSO4; availability of a formal clinical protocol for MgSO4 administration; and MgSO4 dosing regimens for eclampsia prevention and treatment. Results: Magnesium sulphate and a formal protocol for its administration were reported to be always available in 87.4% and 86.4% of all facilities, respectively. MgSO4 was used for the treatment of mild pre-eclampsia, severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia in 24.3%, 93.5% and 96.4% of all facilities, respectively. Regarding the treatment of severe pre-eclampsia, 26.4% and 7.0% of all facilities reported using dosing regimens that were consistent with Zuspan and Pritchard regimens, respectively. Across regions, intramuscular maintenance regimens were more commonly used in the African region (45.7%) than in the Latin American (3.0%) and Asian (22.9%) regions, whereas intravenous maintenance regimens were more often used in the Latin American (94.0%) and Asian (60.0%) regions than in the African region (21.7%). Similar patterns were found for the treatment of eclampsia across regions. Conclusions: The reported clinical use of MgSO4 for eclampsia prevention and treatment varied widely, and was largely inconsistent with current international recommendations. Tweetable abstract: MgSO4 regimens for eclampsia prevention and treatment in many hospitals are inconsistent with international recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1883-1890
Number of pages8
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • dosing regimen
  • eclampsia
  • low- and middle-income settings
  • magneisum sulphate
  • pre-eclampsia

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