Preeclampsia Awareness Month

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month in the United Sates.  Preeclampsia Awareness Month draws attention to the fact that at least 5-8% of all pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. 1

One of the things that makes the clinical management of preeclampsia so tricky is that it usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal. 2   Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both mother and baby.

Despite patient advocacy, the efforts of researchers, scientists and clinicians – and millions of dollars investment in seeking its prevention – the rate of preeclampsia in the US has increased 25% in the last two decades and is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. 3

The Importance of Awareness

The importance of increased awareness of preeclampsia is illustrated by the discordance between awareness of preeclampsia and knowledge of its symptoms.  In a survey of pregnant women and new mothers, an encouraging 83% of respondents had heard of preeclampsia with 99% of these women knowing that preeclampsia is serious, even life-threatening, for mothers and babies.  On the other hand, there remains a wide gap (less than 50% of respondents) in associating many known symptoms with preeclampsia; knowing that preeclampsia can occur up to six weeks after delivery and knowing that women with preeclampsia are at greater risk for future health problems. 4   We have come along way with preeclampsia education, but there is still much work to be done. 

Clinical Advances

While patient outreach and education have always been fundamental in reducing preeclampsia, scientific and clinical advances also play a critical role. In 2017, the results from ASPRE (Aspirin for Evidence-Based Preeclampsia Prevention)  low-dose aspirin showed a significant reduction of 62% for preterm preeclampsia in high risk women Read Study Results.   

In order to fully capitalize on the aspirin regimen indicated by the ASPRE Study is the identification of high-risk pregnancies through first trimester preeclampsia screening.  Preeclampsia 1st trimester predictive screening is currently recommended by only two international medical societies – the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology (ISUOG).  Both these Societies   officially recommend the screening to be performed utilizing a combination of medical history, blood pressure, blood test (PlGF) and Doppler in order to assess a personalized risk of developing preeclampsia later in pregnancy and in order to implement a preventive aspirin treatment.

One of the cornerstones of this new screening protocol is the placental growth factor (PlGF) found in the mother’s blood. The PerkinElmer = PlGF 1-2-3™ assay* was used in the study to identify women at high risk of developing preeclampsia.  Read more about PerkinElmer’s PlGF assay and its role in The ASPRE Study.

Supporting Preeclampsia Awareness Month

We all stand united in supporting Preeclampsia Awareness Month.  Although early detection and prevention options are expanding, critical to reducing the potentially devastating impact of preeclampsia is an expecting mother’s awareness of its symptoms and vigilance in communicating any symptoms to her healthcare provider. The sponsor of preeclampsia month, The Preeclampsia Foundation, has developed a very useful video overviewing symptoms of preeclampsia to help assist. 

We hope you found this post helpful!

Note: PerkinElmer and ViaCord do not endorse or make recommendations with respect to research, medications or treatment.  All information is provided for informational purposes only.  For country specific recommendations, please consult your healthcare professional.

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

References

1. https://www.personalizedcause.com/health-awareness-cause-calendar/preeclampsia-awareness-month

2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745

3. https://www.preeclampsia.org/what-is-preeclampsia

4. https://pre-empt.bcchr.ca/2014-preeclampsia-awareness-survey-highlights-need-education-1


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