Changes to Pre-eclampsia Testing ‘Will Save Lives’

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has changed its guidance in the UK for the testing of pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal condition.

NICE had previously set guidance on the use of a test that didn’t diagnose pre-eclampsia; it only ruled out whether a patient had it.

Pre-eclampsia usually affects around 6% of women

NICE has since changed its guidance to allow the use of several new types of tests that can diagnose the condition.

Pre-eclampsia usually affects around 6% of women during pregnancy.

The government has so far welcomed the new guidance but has ruled out routine screenings.

Four tests have been approved

Tests had previously been used to only rule out whether a woman had pre-eclampsia but weren’t reliable enough to show whether she had it.

Four tests have been approved for use, and these tests measure the level of placental growth factor (PlGF) within the blood.

PlGF helps to develop new blood vessels in the placenta and is often at low levels in women who have pre-eclampsia.

New tests can successfully diagnose pre-eclampsia

The director for scientific advice at NICE, Jeanette Kusel, said: “These tests represent a step change in the management and treatment of pre-eclampsia.”

She went on to say: “This is extremely valuable to doctors and expectant mothers as now they can have increased confidence in their treatment plans and preparing for a safe birth.”

The roll-out is a “postcode lottery”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has welcomed the change.

Spokesperson Professor Basky Thilaganathan said: “Earlier diagnosis by even a few days can significantly improve maternal morbidity/mortality associated with pre-eclampsia.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of charity Action for Pre-eclampsia, Marcus Green, has stated that whilst they’re pleased to see the guidance has changed, the national implementation is patchy.

He described the roll-out as a “postcode lottery”.

If you have experienced a delayed or misdiagnosis of pre-eclampsia which caused you or your baby to suffer harm, then First4Lawyers can help you begin a medical negligence claim.

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