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J Clin Med Res. 2014 Feb;6(1):1-7. doi: 10.4021/jocmr1682w. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

A brief overview of preeclampsia.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Preeclampsia (PE) is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide. It occurs in women with first or multiple pregnancies and is characterized by new onset hypertension and proteinuria. Improper placentation is mainly responsible for the disease. If PE remains untreated, it moves towards more serious condition known as eclampsia. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, proteinuria, obesity, family history, nulliparity, multiple pregnancies and thrombotic vascular disease contribute as the risk factors for PE. PE triggered metabolic stress causes vascular injury, thus contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and/or chronic kidney disease (CKD) in future. This risk appears to be increased especially in women with a history of recurrent PE and eclampsia. Clinically increased serum levels of sFlt-1 and decreased placental growth factor (PIGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) represent the severe condition of PE. The clinical findings of sever PE are assorted by the presence of systemic endothelial dysfunction, microangiopathy, the liver (hemolysis, elevated liver function tests and low platelet count, namely HELLP syndrome) and the kidney (proteinuria). The early detection of PE is one of the most important goals in obstetrics.


Eclampsia; Hypertension; Microangiopathy; Preeclampsia; Proteinuria

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