NHS to Offer New Blood Test for Pre-eclampsia

Pregnant women across England will be able to get a new type of blood test on the NHS which checks for pre-eclampsia.

The placental growth factor (PLGF) blood test is to be made more widely available by NHS England after evidence suggests it could speed up diagnosis and possibly save lives.

What will this mean?

Pre-eclampsia can be life-threatening as it causes dangerous high blood pressure which can damage vital organs.

It affects tens of thousands of pregnant women each year, but it can be managed if it is spotted early.

The test will detect whether the patient is at high, medium or low risk.

Women who are at high risk are closely monitored and may have to deliver their baby early if treatment fails to stop the condition becoming too severe.


Trials of the test were carried out on more than 1,000 women in 11 different maternity units in the UK during their second and third trimesters.

The average diagnosis time was cut from four days to around two when PGLF was used alongside regular blood and urine checks.

This was linked with a lower chance of serious complications. 5.8% of women who had the usual checks had serious complications, whereas only 3.8% of those having the usual checks plus PGLF had serious complications.


Lead researcher Professor Lucy Chappell, of King’s College London, said: "This really is going to make a difference to women. The challenge for doctors is spotting which pregnancies are high risk and need closer monitoring. PLGF helps us reach that diagnosis earlier."

Prof Tony Young, from NHS England, said: "The NHS, with partners in government, will be making this test more widely available across the NHS as part of our plans to ensure as many patients as possible can benefit from world-class health innovations."

Further help

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