Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. Early identification and continuous monitoring helps reduce maternal mortality due to this condition.
Pregnancy in the United Kingdom has never been safer, say scientists from King's College London writing in the latest edition of The Lancet
‘Good care in the NHS, driven by sound evidence-based medicine and disseminated by NICE guidelines, has helped reduce the mortality in the United Kingdom in mothers with pre-eclampsia.’
In their article, Professor Andrew Shennan and Professor Lucy
Chappell welcomed the news from the latest Confidential Enquiry into
Maternal Deaths that less than one in 10,000 women in the UK die in
pregnancy and women who get Pre-eclampsia have a less than one in
1,000,000 chance of dying.
"This reduction in mortality in the U.K. in mothers with
Pre-eclampsia is quite remarkable. Good care in the NHS, driven by sound
evidence-based medicine and disseminated by NICE guidelines, means the
rest of the world will be driven to emulate this success. This is a real
success story," said Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King's
The article suggests that the improved outcomes over recent decades
are due to improved monitoring of pregnant women, good diagnosis and
timely delivery. More recently, it has been shown there can be partial
prevention through the use of low dose aspirin, use of antihypertensive
medication and magnesium sulphate. Planned delivery from 37 weeks has
also been shown to reduce morbidity.
"We should continue the focus on high-quality care that has enabled
this reduction to happen including regular antenatal checks and prompt
treatment of severe hypertension. We now need to turn our attention to
reducing Pre-eclampsia deaths around the globe and the baby deaths
associated with the disease in the UK and elsewhere," added Lucy
Chappell, Professor of Obstetrics at King's College London.
Marcus Green from the charity Action on Pre-eclampsia has been working with the team to utilise their findings in his own work.
He said: "Pregnancy in the UK is now so safe a women's partner is
more likely to die than she is. There has been great progress even in
the last few years, especially in Pre-eclampsia and this is down to
great care in the NHS. In 2006-8, 19 women died from Pre-eclampsia and
this is now down to two deaths in 2012-14.
"We know great care makes a tremendous difference and Pre-eclampsia
is only safe for the mother if it is identified and well managed without
this we run the risk of these statistics rising in the UK and the
effect on families is utterly devastating."