Risk factors and prediction of preeclampsia
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta clinica Belgica. - Leuven, 1946 - 1997
, p. 1-12
University of Antwerp
Inadequate trophoblast invasion of the spiral arteries in early pregnancy, an increased inflammatory response and changes in the immune answer to paternal antigens are considered aetiological factors in preeclampsia. Searching for factors related to these angiogenic, anti-angiogenic, immunologic and inflammatory mechanisms may provide methods to determine which patient will develop preeclampsia predating the onset of the clinical manifestations of the disease. Screening for preeclampsia in the first trimester has had limited success. Currently, maternal characteristics, clinical history, maternal serum biochemistry and uterine artery Doppler sonography before 14 weeks are being investigated. Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy is still the strongest predictor. In the second trimester, uterine artery Doppler has a detection rate around 60 % but also a high false positive rate of 25 %. First trimester uterine artery Doppler studies have high sensitivity but poor specificity with a high false positive rate. Combination of first trimester uterine artery Doppler with patient characteristics and maternal serum biochemistry, specifically placental protein 13 holds promise but further evaluation is needed. Maternal serum markers including inhibin A, activin A, soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase 1, endoglin, pregnancy associated plasma protein A and others, when used alone have proved poor predictors of preeclampsia. Most studies have been performed by a limited group of researchers in a population with a high risk and no validation studies of any method in other populations are available. Results are difficult to compare due to differences in methodology, and differences in the end point studied. There are still no good methods of preventing preeclampsia once a high risk has been determined.