Preeclampsia can lead to serious complications if not detected promptly, with early signs including high blood pressure and protein in the urine (usually albumin). And in some cases, women can experience severe headaches, vision problems, pain below the ribs, swelling, and vomiting.
Tests were previously available to rule out the condition, but will now be available to detect a positive diagnosis of preeclampsia.
Midwives can use one of four blood tests to help diagnose suspected preeclampsia, and they can be used during pregnancy, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). period from 20 weeks to 36 weeks and 6 days.
The tests measure levels of placental growth factor (PLGF), which is a protein that helps develop new blood vessels in the placenta.
One of four blood tests can be used to help diagnose suspected preeclampsia. (Photo: Sky News)
The level of PLGF in the blood may be abnormally low and this could be a sign that the placenta is not developing.
Jeanette Kusel, acting director of MedTech and digital at Nice, said: “New evidence presented to the committee shows that these tests can help diagnose preeclampsia, along with clinical information to inform decisions about treatment, rather than abortion. This is extremely valuable to doctors and expectant mothers as they can now have more confidence in their treatment plan and prepare for a safe delivery.“.
Dr Mark Kroese, Chairman of the Nice Diagnostic Advisory Committee, said: “The Committee called for more research when looking at this topic in 2016. After some further research, we are now able to come up with draft guidelines for four types of tests the NHS can use to help diagnose preeclampsia“.
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