Preeclampsia: Early detection and treatment for safe delivery


Preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy along with significant amounts of protein in the urine and accumulation of excess fluid beneath the skin. If not treated in time, preeclampsia may turn into eclampsia, resulting in tonic clonic seizures which can possibly result in maternal and infant death. While blood pressure elevation is the most visible sign of the disease, it involves generalized damage to the maternal endothelium, kidneys, and liver, with the release of vasoconstrictive factors. A study reported in Americal Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed a blood test that can detect preeclampsia.

Hypertension and proteinuria are necessary for a diagnosis. Pitting edema (unusual swelling, particularly of the hands, feet, or face, notable by leaving an indentation when pressed on) can be significant, and should be reported to a health care provider.

Blood test of women with preeclampsia can reveal the risk for an imminent delivery
Dr. Stefan Verlohren from the Klinik für Geburtsmedizin and his team carried a study and found that a blood test can help to assess whether a pregnant woman who suffers from preeclampsia, is at risk for an imminent delivery. This can be used to determine the due date as well as avoid complications for mother and child. The study was reported...

in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The team examined a total of 630 pregnant women, 388 of those were having a normal pregnancy whereas 164 suffered from preeclampsia. The scientists closely observed the remaining time of pregnancy in patients with preeclampsia. In cases where the concentration of two certain placenta-derived growth factors, called sFlt-1 and PlGF, exceeded a certain value, the duration of pregnancy was significantly shorter. In patients with especially high test results delivery resulted within 48 hours.

Dr: Verlohren explained “With this test we can assess the severity of preeclampsia and give a short-term prognosis of the disease course.”

The blood test looks promising as a first pass to detect preeclampsia and may reduce the resulting complications.  The researchers need a bigger clinical trial in order to roll this on a commercial scale so that pregnant women can benefit from it.


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