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Placenta. 2011 Feb;32 Suppl:S42-8. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2010.07.015.

Screening for pre-eclampsia--lessons from aneuploidy screening.

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Department of Obsterics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, 622 W. 168th Street, PH1666, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Antenatal screening for aneuploidy is an established routine clinical practice worldwide. The same statistical methodology, developed and refined over three decades, might be adapted to screening for pre-eclampsia.


The published literature is reviewed for evidence that the methodology is valid for pre-eclampsia using first trimester maternal serum PP13, PAPP-A, PlGF, ADAM12 and inhibin A, together with MAP and uterine artery Doppler PI. Risk is estimated for both early onset pre-eclampsia, requiring delivery before 34 weeks, or late onset disease. Prior risk from the background prevalence multiplied by likelihood ratios (LRs) for ethnicity, parity, adiposity and family history is multiplied by an LR from the screening marker profile. Markers are expressed in multiples of the gestation-specific median and adjusted for body mass, ethnicity and smoking status as appropriate. A standardized population with a fixed distribution of risk factors and a multi-variate Gaussian model of marker profiles is used to predict performance.


There is sufficient published data to estimate individual risks reasonably well. Modeling predicts that using PAPP-A and one other serum marker, together with the physical markers more than two-thirds of early and one-third of late onset cases can be detected by classifying less than 2% of pregnancies as high risk; three-quarters of early case could be detected with a 5% high risk rate.


Whilst more data on some markers is still required modeling so far suggests that extending first trimester aneuploidy screening programs to include pre-eclampsia screening would yield a high detection. However, prospective studies are needed to verify the model predictions.

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