Pre-Eclampsia: The test change that could save pregnant women’s lives

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Pre-eclampsia is a condition which can affect pregnant women; the signs and symptoms are usually high blood pressure and protein in urine.

This sometimes fatal condition appears in the second half of pregnancies. The condition can be managed if an early diagnosis is made. Mild pre-eclampsia is reported to affect up to 6% of pregnancies but can develop severe and serious complications for mum and baby in around 1–2% of pregnancies if not monitored and treated.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that whereas previously a test could be done to rule out the condition, more accurate tests are carried out which can actually diagnose cases.

The BBC report that Jeanette Kusel, director for scientific advice at NICE, said: “These tests represent a step change in the management and treatment of pre-eclampsia. New evidence presented to the committee shows that these tests can help successfully diagnose pre-eclampsia, alongside clinical information for decision-making, rather than just rule it out. This is extremely valuable to doctors and expectant mothers as now they can have increased confidence in their treatment plans and preparing for a safe birth”

Professor Basky Thilaganathan, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, welcomed the new recommendation. He said: “Earlier diagnosis by even a few days can significantly improve maternal morbidity/mortality associated with pre-eclampsia.”

Amanda Cavanagh, Associate at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Anything which can reduce the incidents of preventable harm to pregnant women is very welcome. This type of testing can put pregnant women’s minds at rest and ensure that this sinister and sometimes fatal condition is monitored and treated before it becomes a threat to both mother and baby.”


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