Serial measurements of the plasma concentration of fibrinopeptide A, thrombin-increasable fibrinopeptide B (reflecting B beta 1–42), desarginyl fibrinopeptide B, beta thromboglobulin, and platelet factor 4 were made before, during, and after delivery in patients with preeclampsia/eclampsia. The data were correlated with routine coagulation studies, hematologic and renal status, as well as with the clinical manifestations. In 11 patients with mild preeclampsia, there were small increases in the fibrinopeptides at the time of delivery, but no other hematologic changes. In 5 patients with severe preeclampsia/eclampsia, there were marked increases in plasma levels of fibrinopeptides and platelet alpha granule proteins, which correlated in time with the clinical manifestations. When the changes in these patients were compared with those occurring in patients undergoing intraamniotic hypertonic saline infusion, it was noted that: (1) patients with severe preeclampsia/eclampsia usually presented when plasmin action on fibrinogen exceeded that of thrombin; (2) in patients with preeclampsia/eclampsia the increase in fibrinopeptides lasted from 3 to 7 days, rather than for several hours as occurred after the infusion of hypertonic saline, indicating a more persistent stimulus to intravascular coagulation in preeclampsia/eclampsia; (3) severe thrombocytopenia and increased platelet protein levels were seen in these patients and were disproportionate to the degree of increase in the fibrinopeptide A level, suggesting that a mechanism other than thrombin must have contributed to the platelet changes; and (4) in two patients with severe preeclampsia/eclampsia, high desarginyl fibrinopeptide B levels preceded renal insufficiency, possibly reflecting fibrin II formation in renal vessels.

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