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Friday, May 20, 2022

They will offer pregnant women a test to detect preeclampsia

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Pregnant women with suspected pre-eclampsia will now be offered a test on the NHS to detect the condition.

Preeclampsia affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy or shortly after the birth of their baby.

It can lead to serious complications if it goes undetected during maternity appointments, with early signs including high blood pressure and protein in the urine.

In some cases, women may develop a severe headache, vision problems such as blurred or intermittent vision, pain just below the ribs, swelling, and vomiting.

There have been tests available to help rule out the condition, but midwives will now use tests designed to detect a positive diagnosis.

In the new draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said midwives caring for pregnant women can use one of four blood tests to help diagnose suspected premature pre-eclampsia.

They can be used from 20 weeks to 36 weeks and six days, and experts expect them to detect 6% of pregnancies affected by the condition.

The four tests recommended in the guide are: DELFIA Xpress PLGF 1-2-3; DELFIA Xpress sFlt-1/Xpress PLGF1-2-3 ratio; sFlt-1/PLGF ratio of the Elecsys immunoassay; and PLGF triage test.

The tests measure the levels of placental growth factor (PLGF) in the blood.

PLGF is a protein that helps the development of new blood vessels in the placenta.

In pre-eclampsia, PLGF levels can be abnormally low and could be an indicator that the placenta is not developing properly.

Jeanette Kusel, interim director of MedTech and digital in 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, along with clinical information for decision-making, rather than simply rule it out.

“This is extremely valuable for clinicians and mothers-to-be as they can now have greater confidence in their treatment plans and prepare for a safe delivery.”

Dr Mark Kroese, chair of the Nice diagnostic advisory committee, said: “The committee called for more research when it looked at this issue in 2016.

“After excellent research, we are now able to issue draft guidance for four tests that the NHS can use to help diagnose pre-eclampsia.”

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