New Preeclampsia Test Can Predict If Women Are At Risk Of Life-Threatening Pregnancy Complications


A new blood test can, according to scientists, rule out within a week with 100 percent efficiency the risk of developing the life-threatening condition. The new test can determine the risk level of a woman developing preeclampsia even when she is exhibiting no signs of the condition. The study suggests that for women worried about preeclampsia, the test can provide peace-of-mind as it can, with 100 percent efficiency, rule out complications in the coming week.

The Daily Mail reports that a breakthrough new blood test will give doctors across the globe a way to predict the likelihood of a pregnant patient developing the life-threatening condition known as preeclampsia. The deadly pregnancy complication kills approximately 76,000 women a year along with 50,000 babies. Therefore, proper testing and diagnosis is key.

The blood test helps doctors identify which patients are at risk for developing the life-threatening condition and allows for better treatment options. Researchers working on the test note that a big problem surrounding preeclampsia is inconsistent symptoms and difficulty in diagnosis. Therefore, a simply blood test ruling out preeclampsia is a big step forward.

“The main problem with preeclampsia is that clinical presentation is variable and symptoms are often too nonspecific to allow a clear diagnosis. The new blood test ‘can help us better predict the risk of disease onset or its progression.”

In order to test the new procedure, scientists recruited 1,273 women with suspected preeclampsia for their study. The study, which was called PROGNOSIS, which stands for Prediction of Short-Term Outcome in Pregnant Women With Suspected Preeclampsia Study, found that the blood test was incredibly accurate when dealing with ruling out preeclampsia for a week period.

The test works by comparing the ratio of two proteins produced by the placenta. The study found that women with a ratio of 38 or lower were at no risk for developing the condition within a week. This may not seem like a long period of time, but for women who think they may be susceptible for developing a life-threatening condition, knowing that you have a whole week before any complications may arise can provide much needed peace-of-mind. This will also allow doctors to avoid unnecessary preterm deliveries that may result from treating a feared case of preeclampsia too early.

The blood test will provide a definitely answer to doctors about the necessity of a preterm delivery in cases that previously may have been unclear.

“This allows us to avoid preterm deliveries and delays in starting treatment. The main thing, however, is the fact that it is now possible to reliably rule out disease onset for one week; this will considerably reduce anxiety for the mother.”

In addition to being able to rule out onset of preeclampsia for one whole week, the study was also 65.5 percent accurate in predicting maternal or fetal complications over a four-week period. If women had a protein ratio of more than 30 they had a 65.5 percent chance of developing complications over the next four weeks.

The Medical Daily News points out that women in the study came from 14 different countries to ensure diversity in the testing.

The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine with the study being sponsored by the test manufacturer listed as Roche. What do you think about the preeclampsia prediction test? Would you take the test if you had concerns about preeclampsia to rule out complications for a week?

[Image via AP Photo/Allison Joyce]