The conundrum of eclampsia and fitness to drive

Barrett, Helen L., Nitert Dekker, Helen L., Lust, Karin, Fagermo, Narelle, Wolski, Penny and Callaway, Leonie K. (2013) The conundrum of eclampsia and fitness to drive. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 53 6: 540-543. doi:10.1111/ajo.12139

Author Barrett, Helen L.
Nitert Dekker, Helen L.
Lust, Karin
Fagermo, Narelle
Wolski, Penny
Callaway, Leonie K.
Title The conundrum of eclampsia and fitness to drive
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8666
Publication date 2013-12
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ajo.12139
Open Access Status
Volume 53
Issue 6
Start page 540
End page 543
Total pages 4
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Australian Fitness to Drive guidelines suggest that anyone who has had a seizure of any kind in the context of a ‘metabolic’ disorder should avoid driving for a period of 6 months. The special case of eclampsia is not mentioned.

Aims: In this study, we aimed to assess what advice healthcare professionals involved in the peripartum care of women provide to women who have an eclamptic seizure, what investigations they would conduct to exclude other causes of seizures and their level of awareness of whether eclampsia was addressed in the Australian Fitness to Drive guidelines.

Materials and Methods: A survey of 165 healthcare professionals attending the 2012 Society of Obstetric Medicine of Australia and New Zealand annual scientific meeting. Participants included registered nurses, midwives, consultant obstetricians, consultant physicians, doctors in training and others, interested in medical disorders of pregnancy.

Results: One hundred and nine conference attendees completed the survey (response rate 66.1%). 58 respondents (53.2%) had cared for 5 or more women with peripartum seizures, and 23 respondents (21.1%) had cared for 10 or more women with peripartum seizures. 46 respondents (42.2%) had never considered the issue of driving after an eclamptic seizure. For those who had considered the issue, advice ranged from no restriction (n = 5, 4.6%), no driving for 1–2 weeks (n = 14, 12.8%), no driving for 3 months (n = 20, 18.4%) or no driving for 6 months (n = 6, 5.5%).

Conclusions: Many healthcare professionals caring for women with peripartum seizures have not considered issues relating to fitness to drive after an eclamptic seizure. There is a wide range of advice provided. Better prospective data are required regarding the risk of subsequent seizure after eclampsia, to inform clear fitness to drive guidelines.
Keyword Driving guidelines
Peripartum seizures
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Mon, 16 Dec 2013, 13:01:32 EST by Roheen Gill on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research