London: Researchers have developed a new blood test to predict the early onset of preeclampsia -- a multi-system disorder that affects women in pregnancy.
The test which determines the ratio of sFlt-1 to PlGF -- two placental proteins -- can be used to predict whether a pregnant woman will develop preeclampsia or the typical complications associated with it, the researchers said.
The researchers were able to determine a cutoff value for the ratio of serum sFlt-1 to PlGF, which allows them to reliably rule out the condition within one week.
"The ratio of serum sFlt-1 to PlGF can help us to better predict the risk of disease onset or its progression," emphasised the study's corresponding author Stefan Verlohren from Charite - University Medicine Berlin, Germany.
The findings of the new study may help in avoiding preterm deliveries and delays in starting the treatment of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia affects two to five percent of pregnant women, and is one of the main reasons for complications during the second half of pregnancy. It is most often diagnosed too late and in some severe cases can turn fatal for both mother and the child.
A total of 1,273 pregnant women with suspected preeclampsia, recruited from 14 different countries, took part in the study.
All participants underwent blood tests to determine the ratio of serum sFlt-1 to PlGF. A sFlt-1 to PlGF ratio of 38 or lower was shown to have a negative predictive value of close to 100 percent for ruling out preeclampsia within one week.
The findings were detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine.