A New Blood Test Can Help With Early Diagnosis of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia poses serious risk to both mother and child. Not only is it responsible for 18 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S., it also accounts for 15 percent of all premature births, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. Although the medical field does not yet completely understand the cause, findings suggest one newly developed test can identify preeclampsia as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Early test for preeclampsia

What Is Preeclampsia?

Sometimes called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), preeclampsia is a disorder characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in the urine of an expectant mother. Usually diagnosed in the second or third trimester, preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for the mother, including renal or liver failure, cardiovascular issues in the future, and eclampsia late in the pregnancy.

Tests Makes Early Detection Possible

While many symptoms of preeclampsia aren’t easily detectable, a new test developed by a research team at the University of Iowa makes early detection easier. The following are a few highlights of their findings:

  • Researchers discovered a biomarker of preeclampsia, called arginine vasopressin (AVP)
  • AVP can be detected through testing a pregnant woman’s blood
  • The test is similar to taking a pregnancy test
  • Early detection could lead to early diagnosis and, eventually, prevention of the disorder

Risk Factors of Preeclampsia

Because Iowa researchers estimate that preeclampsia affects 5-7 percent of all U.S. pregnancies, it’s important to know if your risk for developing the disorder might be increased. Common risk factors associated with preeclampsia are:

  • You’ve already had one or more children
  • You’re overweight or obese
  • You have a history of high blood pressure or diabetes
  • You’ve had kidney disease, arthritis, or lupus
  • You’re pregnant and in your teens or late 40s

We Can Help

If you believe you or your baby suffered injuries because medical staff mishandled your case of preeclampsia, you may have questions for a lawyer. At the Holton Law Firm, we work to help you find justice and recover adequate compensation. To speak with an attorney about your case, start a live online chat with us.


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