Luis D. Pacheco, Joost J. Zwart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Sepsis and pregnancy, Sepsis occurs as the result of a systemic maladaptive inflammatory response to an infectious insult. It is the leading cause of mortality in intensive care units (ICUs) in developed countries and the incidence is increasing worldwide [1]. Sepsis is also one of the leading causes of maternal mortality [2]. The incidence of death from severe sepsis in the obstetric population is lower than that of non-obstetric patients. The latter is likely secondary to a younger population with less coexisting medical pathologies. Pregnancy affects both humoral and cell-mediated immunological functions. The white blood cell count rises as pregnancy progresses, and some authors have described these neutrophils as “activated,” favoring severe inflammatory reactions to infectious stimuli [3]. Cellular immunity is compromised as a consequence of the decline in T-helper type 1 and natural killer cells. The decrease in cellular immunity predisposes pregnant women to infections from viruses and parasites. In contrast, antibody-mediated immunity is enhanced in pregnancy despite the fact that levels of immunoglobulins are depressed (likely from hemodilution). Pregnancy is not a state of generalized immunosuppression, instead, it is a state of immunomodulation, with compromised cellular and enhanced humoral immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaternal Critical Care
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781139088084
ISBN (Print)9781107018495
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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