The Importance of Biomarkers in Preeclampsia
New research in the Journal of Perinatology has demonstrated that it is possible to identify specific biomarkers for preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that can progress quickly into several risky health conditions that pose great health risks for mother and fetus, including:
- Placental abruption
- HELLP Syndrome
- Neonatal asphyxia and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in the baby
- Seizures and heart failure in the mother
These biomarkers are significant in the development of a model for two reasons. First, figuring out which biomarkers are present in a particular disorder allows us to better understand the mechanism by which that disorder works. Second, biomarkers can sometimes be powerful for predicting whether a person will get a particular disease. They can serve as an indicator that a disease is developing or present, even without clinical signs. This potentially allows physicians to easily screen pregnant women for preeclampsia, which can make the pregnancy monitoring process easier.
Development of a High-Accuracy Model for Predicting Preeclampsia
Researchers at the Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University identified four peripheral leucocyte miRNAs that have great potential to serve as diagnostic biomarkers for preeclampsia. After constructing a model with these four miRNAs, they found that it was more accurate than single marker predictions.
They further identified ways that these biomarkers could be linked with clinical signs of preeclampsia, including vascular endothelial damage, immune system dysfunction and abnormal liver function. They also posited that over-activity of some of these miRNAs is responsible for damage to the circulatory and nervous system, as well as hypoxia in the developing baby.
The researchers then analyzed the efficacy of their model using tests carried out at 22 weeks’ gestation and 24 weeks and six days. They compared their predictive model with a previous model and found that their method was extremely accurate in predicting the presence of preeclampsia using the four miRNAs they identified. They also make some recommendations for further study regarding the mechanisms by which some of these miRNAs can contribute to cellular injury.
Preeclampsia and Birth Injury
Because preeclampsia poses a high risk for mother and child, it is important to keep up to date on the latest research regarding this health condition. Currently, physicians screen preeclampsia using blood pressure tests. Unfortunately, medical professionals do not yet have a way to treat the root cause of preeclampsia, as some of the biological pathways that contribute to the condition are still unclear. Physicians may be required to provide recommendations for modifying maternal lifestyle to help with management of the condition, and may be required to prescribe blood pressure medication in cases of severe preeclampsia. Mothers with preeclampsia are usually induced, or delivered via C-section if the baby is older than 34 weeks gestation. This is because babies whose mothers have preeclampsia have a higher risk of intrauterine (fetal) growth restriction (IUGR/FGR), which means they are far more likely not to tolerate the birth and delivery process and suffer a birth injury such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
There are guidelines in place that physicians should follow in order to minimize the risk of preeclampsia-related injury to mother and child. If a physician fails to follow these guidelines, it can result in catastrophic consequences for both. If you suspect that your child has disabilities, seizures, or developmental delays due to preeclampsia, please contact the ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229, via Live Chat at the left of your screen, or here. Our highly focused attorneys and in-house medical staff can review your case for free to determine whether medical malpractice occurred.
It is important to remember that a single research study does not necessarily indicate that the contents of that research study will be translated into clinical tests. For research to be adopted into clinical procedures, it goes through numerous tests, ensuring that results can be replicated and validated. The research then passes through rigorous safety and clinical trials. We provide a short update on the latest birth injury-related research not to provide medical advice, but merely as a service to allow parents to keep up to date on the latest scientific research relating to birth injury.