Home Science Pre-eclampsia test could help save lives of hundreds of babies every year

Pre-eclampsia test could help save lives of hundreds of babies every year

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Pre-eclampsia test could help save lives of hundreds of babies every year

A new test will allow pregnant women with a life-threatening disorder to carry their babies for longer and save the lives of up to 1,000 youngsters a year.

Around three per cent of pregnant women suffer from pre-eclampsia where their blood pressure is raised to levels whcih threaten both mother and child.

The only known cure is to deliver the baby.  But when pre-eclampsia occurs before 34 weeks of pregnancy doctors are faced with the difficult prospect of either inducing an extremely premature birth or waiting and placing both the mother and baby at great risk.

An estimated 1,000 babies a year die from complications caused by pre-eclampsia but the new test can help doctors decide when it is safe to let the baby stay inside for longer.

The test factors in a mother’s age, gestation at which pre-eclampsia was diagnosed, blood pressure, urine protein level, liver and kidney function, oxygen levels in blood and the need for treatment to control blood pressure and prevent seizures.


Pre-eclampsia test could help save lives of hundreds of babies every year

It was able to predict the risk of complications in up to 84 per cent of mothers.

The research was carried out at Queen Mary University of London, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Project lead Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, professor in maternal and perinatal health at Queen Mary said: “Women categorised to be low risk could be followed-up in an outpatient setting, with high-and very high-risk women monitored as inpatients with regular intensive monitoring.”

Marcus Green, chief executive of the Action on pre-eclampsia (APEC) charity, which worked with the study team, said: ““This devastating condition frightens patients, comes on quickly, is unpredictable and can kill.

“Knowing when to intervene and when to deliver is crucial and this work is very helpful in identifying the women who really need careful medical attention and to ensure they get the care they need.”

The new research was published in the journal BMC Medicine.

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