Tommy's news, 14/03/2018
A new screening program developed by King’s College London can reportedly double the rate at which pre-eclampsia is detected.
The screening program uses a combination of medical history, blood pressure readings and the results of the ultrasound scan and blood test performed at the 12-week scan. The data is then entered into software, which can produce a risk score.
The study, which involved 16,700 women at seven NHS hospitals, found the screening could identify and prevent one case of pre-eclampsia for every 303 women screened.
Nihr Research Professor in Obstetrics , Lucy Chappell notes the potential significance of such research:
'This is interesting research, demonstrating the potential benefit of various screening strategies for pre-eclampsia, and confirming previous work by this group. We know that most women are keen to see tests developed that would help to show which women would benefit most from treatments such as aspirin, which is used to prevent pre-eclampsia. It is likely that this work will be looked at by the UK National Screening Committee, who will use it to help decide what national strategy should be advised for pregnant women.'
What is pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that only occurs in pregnancy - typically after 20 weeks - and affects 2-8 in 100 women. It is diagnosed through a combination of hypertension (raised blood pressure) and proteinuria in pregnancy (the presence of protein in your urine).
What are the signs of pre-eclampsia?
Women with mild pre-eclampsia may not show any symptoms, and it is usually only discovered during routine antenatal appointments (through standard blood pressure checks and urine samples).
If the condition gets more severe, various pre-eclampsia symptoms can develop, including:
- Severe headache that doesn’t go away with simple painkillers
- Problems with vision, such as blurring or flashing before the eyes
- Severe pain just below the ribs
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heartburn that doesn’t go away with antacids
- Rapidly increasing swelling of the face, hands or feet (for example if your watch or rings suddenly don't fit.)
- Feeling very unwell.
These symptoms are serious and you should seek medical help immediately.
See here for more pre-eclampsia information and support.