Pre-eclampsia is a common complication of pregnancy. A woman who has pre-eclampsia suffers from a very high blood pressure, which places enormous stress on her cardiovascular system. The heart, kidneys, and other internal organs can suffer damage from the abnormal blood pressure, and the condition can be fatal. About fifteen percent of all fatalities in pregnant women are due to pre-eclampsia.
Medical personnel at the Melbourne Royal Women’s hospital have recently created the world’s first blood test that can predict whether or not a pregnant woman will develop pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy. While there is still no cure for pre-eclampsia other than ending the pregnancy (either by delivering the baby, or aborting it to safeguard the woman’s life), the test can help keep both patients and doctors from being caught off guard by the symptoms.
Further, there are steps medical personnel can take in conjunction with the woman to help ease some of the worst effects of the condition. For example, women can be admitted to the hospital and monitored closely, to prevent injury or death to either them or their unborn child. During this monitoring, doctors can work to determine if the pregnancy can continue, and if so when would be the best and safest time for the baby to be born.
- 1One in twenty pregnant women experience pre-eclampsia, and accounts for fifteen percent of infant mortality.
- 2The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to end the preganacy through delivery.
- 3This is the first test, being introduced in Melbourne, to predict this deadly condition.