Pre-eclampsia blood test may prevent complications

A blood test can predict whether a woman is likely to develop pre-eclampsia in pregnancy weeks before it takes hold, a study has shown.

The test can spot women at higher risk of pre-eclampsia (Photo: iStock)
The test can spot women at higher risk of pre-eclampsia (Photo: iStock)

Researchers from King's College London said it could help doctors to monitor and treat high BP to prevent complications.

The test measures levels of a protein, placental growth factor, which remains stable in most pregnancies but falls in women who go on to develop pre-eclampsia.

A study of 625 UK women at under 35 weeks' gestation found that patients with very low levels of the protein were more likely to require delivery for pre-eclampsia within 14 days.

Study author Lucy Chappell PhD of King's College London said the test was designed to differentiate women with pre-eclampsia from those with high BP alone. 'Current tests for the condition only detect that it's happening, rather than predicting it, and by that time, the disease has progressed and has likely already caused organ damage.

'The test identifies women at high risk for developing pre-eclampsia, so doctors can better monitor and treat the BP. It also prevents unnecessary hospitalisations of those who are not likely to develop pre-eclampsia.'

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