Arterial BP for pre-eclampsia

Measuring mean arterial pressure is a better predictor for pre-eclampsia than taking systolic and diastolic BP readings, Dutch research suggests.

Currently, it is unclear which measurement of BP is the most accurate at predicting pre-eclampsia.

The latest study is a meta-analysis of 34 studies, involving 60,599 pregnant women. A total of 3,341 cases of pre- eclampsia were identified.

When BP is measured in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, the mean arterial pressure was found to be a better predictor for pre-eclampsia, with a sensitivity of 76 per cent.

In contrast, systolic BP had 68 per cent sensitivity and diastolic BP 66 per cent.

The researchers from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam concluded that 'measurement of mean arterial pressure at the first antenatal visit may improve the accuracy for estimating the risk of pre-eclampsia'.

BMJ 2008; 336: 1,117-20

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