First Test That Could Help Detect Preeclampsia Early During Pregnancy Receives FDA Approval

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The US FDA has made a groundbreaking approval for a blood test marking a significant advancement in prenatal care in detecting preeclampsia. The test which has received breakthrough designation is the first in the country to predict preeclampsia.

Researchers develop a test that can detect preeclampsia

Preeclampsia, a dangerous condition in pregnancy, impacts blood pressure, organ function, and urine protein levels in expectant women. The CDC states that around 1 in 25 US pregnancies are affected by this condition.

The test, created by Thermo Fisher Scientific, gauges the levels of two proteins, PGF and sFlt-1, linked to severe preeclampsia. It can be completed in a hospital lab within 30 minutes. These proteins indicate placental health and have a 94%accuracy in forecasting the likelihood of severe preeclampsia development within two weeks. The test is intended for pregnant individuals already diagnosed with or showing signs of preeclampsia.

The spectrum of preeclampsia ranges from mild blood pressure elevation to severe cases with potential dangers like seizures (eclampsia), premature birth, and harm to both mother and baby. This test aids healthcare professionals in identifying those most susceptible to severe forms of the condition.

Anum Minhas, an assistant professor at John Hopkins Medicine said the test seeks to predict individuals likely to have severe preeclampsia. This will help in early hospitalization to allow for monitoring of the mother or recommend for early child birth.

Early interventions to help prevent preeclampsia progression

The improper formation of the placenta during the initial stages of pregnancy leads to preeclampsia. This condition is identified after the 20-week pregnancy mark and can even be found shortly after childbirth. The insufficient blood supply to the placenta results in elevated maternal blood pressure due to its impact on the mother’s blood vessels. Timely intervention can prevent the progression of preeclampsia to a severe stage.

Pregnant women with increased preeclampsia risk are typically instructed by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to use a daily low-dose aspirin regimen. This should begin before 16 weeks of pregnancy and last until delivery.

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