About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Marker Helps Identify Preeclampsia Risk

by Sheela Philomena on March 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM
Font : A-A+

 New Marker Helps Identify Preeclampsia Risk

According to a recent research, pregnant women who have less number of capillaries under their skin during pregnancy are at an increased risk for preeclampsia.

The study, conducted by researchers in England, evaluated 305 women early in pregnancy to determine whether measuring and tracking the number of capillaries—tiny blood vessels that pass blood from arteries to veins—at various points throughout pregnancy could help predict which women would be likely to develop preeclampsia. This research builds on a previous study in 2001 by the same research team in women with established preeclampsia late in pregnancy. In this earlier study, researchers noticed that women with the condition had a significantly fewer number of capillaries compared to expectant moms without preeclampsia.

Advertisement

Researchers now find that among pregnant women who developed preeclampsia later in pregnancy, the number of capillaries was reduced early on—even at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Data show that using this novel, simple measure seemed to identify those women likely to develop preeclampsia 87 percent of the time—an improvement to the currently used screening test. Repeating the test during the course of pregnancy at or after 27 weeks gestation accurately identified the condition 75 percent of the time and was less likely to include women who would not go on to develop the condition.

"We found that the predictive value of measuring [relative] changes in the capillaries far exceeds that of [the uterine Doppler] scan that is currently used," said Tarek Antonios, MD, St. George's, University of London, and the study's lead investigator. "If the results of this research are confirmed in a larger study, this technique could change clinical practice and be used as a novel way to predict preeclampsia so that more timely medical care can be provided to these pregnant women and prevent thousands of women and hundreds of thousands of infants from dying from this disease."
Advertisement

Preeclampsia is characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure, leakage of protein in the urine and swelling of the legs after the 20th week of pregnancy. While the exact cause of preeclampsia is not fully understood, there is increasing evidence to suggest widespread abnormalities in the small blood vessels, called microcirculation, before the onset of preeclampsia. When capillaries are blocked or reduced in number, normal blood flow is obstructed and affected body tissues can suffer from lack of enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen (or hypoxia) is thought to be the trigger of the abnormalities that cause preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia affects up to 7 percent of all pregnancies. It is also the second leading cause of death during pregnancy behind complications of the delivery itself. The condition can damage blood vessels in the body and, if untreated, increases the risk of developing eclampsia, which in Greek means flashing light or lightening because of its sudden onset. Eclampsia can result in dangerous seizures, stroke and multiple organ failure. In addition to its deleterious effects on expectant moms, preeclampsia can also cut off blood supply to the fetus and result in premature birth or even death. Dr. Antonios said that many women in developing countries die from this condition shortly after the diagnosis because they cannot get adequate medical care or because it is too late to respond to treatment.

Currently, a uterine artery Doppler scan is used to determine a woman's risk of preeclampsia by evaluating blood flow through the artery in the uterus. However, Dr. Antonios says this test is only 50 percent accurate. In this study, researchers measured skin capillary density according to a well-validated protocol at five consecutive, predetermined visits in 322 consecutive Caucasian women, of which 305 subjects completed the study.

"We found that if we examine the microcirculation and measure the changes in capillaries we can predict preeclampsia in a more accurate way and this is exciting news," Dr. Antonios said. "This evaluation is totally non-invasive, painless and takes only 20 minutes while the patient sits comfortably with their hand under a specially designed microscope."

He adds that combining this new approach with the uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index increased theoverall accuracy of the prediction.

While the odds of preeclampsia are increased in women with previous history of preeclampsia or chronichigh blood pressure and among those with increased uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index, the mostpowerful and independent predictor of preeclampsia was capillary rarefaction at 27-32 weeks. Otherknown risk factors for preeclampsia include age over 40 years, first pregnancy, carrying multiple fetuses,being overweight, having diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease, or having family history ofpreeclampsia.

Dr. Antonios says a larger study is needed to validate these initial results and should include a morediverse sample of women.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
Toothache
World AIDS Day 2021 - End Inequalities, End AIDS
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy HELLP Syndrome 

Recommended Reading
Pre Eclampsia
In pre eclampsia a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and proteinuria during pregnancy....
Air Pollutant Ups Pre-eclampsia Risk
One in every 20 cases of pre-eclampsia may be associated with increased levels of the air pollutant ...
Pre-eclampsia Raises Risk of Complications After Childbirth
Women suffering from pre-eclampsia are at an increased risk of complications following childbirth .....
Scientists Explore Link Between Lupus and Increased Risk of Preeclampsia
Women with systemic lupus erythematosus have a higher risk of preeclampsia — a dangerous condition ....
HELLP Syndrome
HELLP syndrome is a rare but serious complication that affects pregnant women. If detected on time, ...
Swollen Ankles during Pregnancy
Swelling of ankles and feet is very common in the last trimester of pregnancy. It occurs due to incr...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use