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Placental growth factor: supporting management of pre-eclampsia

Although the exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not known, it is thought to occur when a problem develops with the placenta. Routine blood pressure and proteinuria checks are performed during the antenatal period to detect this condition, and can now be complemented by the addition of near-patient placental growth factor testing.

The rapid diagnosis of pre-eclampsia, identification of placental dysfunction and likelihood of preterm delivery is essential to ensure positive outcomes in pregnancy. A test deployed at the point of care or in rapid testing facilities for placental growth factor (PlGF) can support clinical decisions in the detection and management of pre-eclampsia. Abnormally low levels of maternal circulating PlGF at the first presentation are suggestive of the presence of placental dysfunction and are predictive of the development of pre-eclampsia and its complications.

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects some pregnant women, either during or shortly after their pregnancy. The symptoms tend to present after 20 weeks’ gestation, with early signs of pre-eclampsia including high blood pressure and proteinuria. These tests are generally poor at predicting pre-eclampsia, with only 38% of pregnant women of the total investigated for pre-eclampsia having both hypertension and proteinuria.1,2

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