Preeclampsia News: Additional Blood Test For Pregnant Women Predicts Those With High Risk For The Disease

Women with high thyroid function can undergo a blood test to accurately predict if they are at risk for preeclampsia, according to a new study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology. Hyperthyroidism is said to be one of the risk factors for preeclampsia, while high levels of another hormone called hCG cause high thyroid function but does not lead to an increased preeclampsia risk.

Preeclampsia is the foremost cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality across the globe, according to the authors from Erasmus University MC and The Generation R Study Group, Rotterdam, both in Netherlands. Preeclampsia is experienced by two to eight percent of all pregnant women, the authors said in the abstract of their study.

Measuring hCG Allows Prediction Of Preeclampsia Risk

The study's authors looked at the hormone levels of 5153 women during the early portion of their pregnancy, or before their 18th week. They found that the pregnant women with high thyroid hormone levels and low hCG levels were between three to eleven times at risk for preeclampsia, Science Daily reported.

Pregnant women who had both high levels of the thyroid hormone and hCG were found to not be at an additional risk for preeclampsia. Lead study author Dr. Tim Korevaar said that at present, doctors do measure pregnant women's thyroid hormone levels and suggested that hCG levels be measured as well.

"Our work will potentially reassure the vast majority of patients who do not actually have an underlying thyroid condition by helping them avoid unnecessary treatment," said Korevaar. Korevaar is from the Erasmus University Medical Center.

Preeclampsia Blood Tests And The Placenta

Meanwhile, the National Health Service in England will be funding two new blood tests that seek to rule out preeclampsia in pregnant women, MedScape reported. The tests look for changes in the blood as this could mean that the baby's placenta has developmental problems.

"At the moment women with suspected pre-eclampsia often have to come into hospital for 24 to 36 hours so we can make a diagnosis, but now, for women between 20th and 35th week of their pregnancy, these new tests may avoid the need for admission to hospital," obstetrician Dr. Jenny Myers said. Myers noted that it should be made clear to patients that depending on what test is used, results are only valid for 7 to 14 days and does not completely rule out preeclampsia as the pregnancy progresses.

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