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Pilot study suggests new approach to treat preeclampsia
Date:8/2/2011

gnancies. Two patients, one of them carrying twins, received two treatments; and the third received four. After each treatment session, the patients' soluble Flt-1 levels dropped from 20 to 30 percent for several days and urinary protein levels also dropped. Various factors, including recurrence of preeclampsia symptoms, eventually required premature delivery of the babies; but the pregnancies had been maintained from two to three weeks after hospital admission. A comparison group of patients that received standard monitoring required delivery an average of 3.6 days after admission. While the babies of women receiving the novel treatment needed the type of support typically required for premature infants, they all were discharged from the hospital with few complications.

"There has never been an effective therapy for this condition," says Thadhani, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "We've been working for over a decade to find ways to extend the baby's time in utero while preventing the rapid acceleration of preeclampsia that can take a mother from feeling fine to a coma in a matter of hours. One of the beauties of an approach based on removing something instead of giving a drug is that it can be carefully controlled and, if necessary, quickly turned off. While this study is too small to allow us to say that our treatment was responsible for extending these patients' pregnancies that will require a larger, randomized clinical trial this first step holds promise."


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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