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Novel marker helps identify preeclampsia risk in pregnancy
Date:3/7/2013

SAN FRANCISCO (March 7, 2013) Pregnant women who have a reduced number of capillaries under their skin during pregnancy may be at heightened risk for preeclampsia, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session. Researchers say monitoring such changes in small blood vessels early in pregnancy may allow for medical intervention long before the potentially life-threatening condition occurs.

The study, conducted by researchers in England, evaluated 305 women early in pregnancy to determine whether measuring and tracking the number of capillariestiny blood vessels that pass blood from arteries to veinsat various points throughout pregnancy could help predict which women would be likely to develop preeclampsia. This research builds on a previous study in 2001 by the same research team in women with established preeclampsia late in pregnancy. In this earlier study, researchers noticed that women with the condition had a significantly fewer number of capillaries compared to expectant moms without preeclampsia.

Researchers now find that among pregnant women who developed preeclampsia later in pregnancy, the number of capillaries was reduced early oneven at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Data show that using this novel, simple measure seemed to identify those women likely to develop preeclampsia 87 percent of the timean improvement to the currently used screening test. Repeating the test during the course of pregnancy at or after 27 weeks gestation accurately identified the condition 75 percent of the time and was less likely to include women who would not go on to develop the condition.

"We found that the predictive value of measuring [relative] changes in the capillaries far exceeds that of [the uterine Doppler] scan that is currently used," said Tarek Antonios, MD, St. George's, University of London, and the study's lead investigator. "If the results of this research are confirmed in a
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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
240-328-4549
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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