Pregnant women to receive life-saving pre-eclampsia check on NHS

pharmafile | March 28, 2022 | News story | Sales and Marketing  

A life-saving blood test that can help diagnose suspected preterm pre-eclampsia has been recommended by NICE, and this is to benefit many pregnant women.

Pre-eclampsia is a potentially serious complication of pregnancy which affects up to 6% of pregnancies. This condition is thought to be associated with problems in the development of the placenta.

Up until now, tests have only been recommended to help rule out pre-eclampsia, but new checks suggested for use on the NHS will be able to help midwives diagnose the conditions and give mothers and unborn babies the care the need, when they need it, as well as providing reassurance and understanding.

NICE has recommended four blood tests that can be used between 20 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, and these measure levels of placental growth factor (PLGF) in the blood. PLGF is a protein that aids the development of new blood vessels in the placenta, which oxygen and nutrients pass through to the baby.

“It’s fantastic to see NICE’s announcement recommending pre-eclampsia testing across all NHS hospitals in England. Roche Diagnostics is proud to support on this important issue, with pre-eclampsia affecting up to 6% of all pregnancies in the UK and thousands more suspected of having the potentially devastating condition,” Geoff Twist, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland said. “Until now pre-eclampsia care has rightly been characterised by caution, but our test, which was selected to be on the AAC list of rapid uptake products, can reliably help healthcare professionals to decide on the most appropriate care during pregnancy by ruling in or ruling out suspected pre-eclampsia.”

In pre-eclampsia if PLGF levels are abnormally low, this could be an indicator the placenta is not developing properly. However, now that midwives are able to pre-empt the condition in this way, along with other checks, they can take appropriate actions such as making a referral to a specialist and hospital admission to monitor the mother and unborn baby.

Although many cases of pre-eclampsia are mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if left unmonitored and untreated. This reinforces the importance of earlier diagnosis.

Lina Adams

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