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BJOG. 2007 Dec;114(12):1477-85. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Accuracy of body mass index in predicting pre-eclampsia: bivariate meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of General Practice, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. j.s.cnossen@amc.uva.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to determine the accuracy of body mass index (BMI) (pre-pregnancy or at booking) in predicting pre-eclampsia and to explore its potential for clinical application.

DESIGN:

Systematic review and bivariate meta-analysis.

SETTING:

Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, MEDION, manual searching of reference lists of review articles and eligible primary articles, and contact with experts.

POPULATION:

Pregnant women at any level of risk in any healthcare setting.

METHODS:

Reviewers independently selected studies and extracted data on study characteristics, quality, and accuracy. No language restrictions.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Pooled sensitivities and specificities (95% CI), a summary receiver operating characteristic curve, and corresponding likelihood ratios (LRs). The potential value of BMI was assessed by combining its predictive capacity for different prevalences of pre-eclampsia and the therapeutic effectiveness (relative risk 0.90) of aspirin.

RESULTS:

A total of 36 studies, testing 1,699,073 pregnant women (60,584 women with pre-eclampsia), met the selection criteria. The median incidence of pre-eclampsia was 3.9% (interquartile range 1.4-6.8). The area under the curve was 0.64 with 93% of heterogeneity explained by threshold differences. Pooled estimates (95% CI) for all studies with a BMI > or = 25 were 47% (33-61) for sensitivity and 73% (64-83) for specificity; and 21% (12-31) and 92% (89-95) for a BMI > or = 35. Corresponding LRs (95% CI) were 1.7 (0.3-11.9) for BMI > or = 25 and 0.73 (0.22-2.45) for BMI < 25, and 2.7 (1.0-7.3) for BMI > or = 35 and 0.86 (0.68-1.07) for BMI < 35. The number needed to treat with aspirin to prevent one case of pre-eclampsia ranges from 714 (no testing, low-risk women) to 37 (BMI > or = 35, high-risk women).

CONCLUSIONS:

BMI appears to be a fairly weak predictor for pre-eclampsia. Although BMI is virtually free of cost, noninvasive, and ubiquitously available, its usefulness as a stand-alone test for risk stratification must await formal cost-utility analysis. The findings of this review may serve as input for such analyses.

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