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Summary

Arterial blood gases, physiological dead space and percentage pulmonary venous admixture (physiological shunt) were measured in 31 patients with proteinuric pre-eclampsia. There was no difference in pulmonary function in 22 patients with moderate pre-eclampsia when compared with normal pregnancy, but in 9 patients with severe pre-eclampsia, there was a significant increase in alveolar-to-arterial Po2 difference and physiological shunt, indicating a degree of pulmonary ventilation/perfusion imbalance. There was no accompanying hypoxaemia, suggesting that the impairment was of no clinical importance.