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Fetal Diagn Ther. 2016;39(1):21-7. doi: 10.1159/000381802. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Development of Late-Onset Preeclampsia in Association with Road Densities as a Proxy for Traffic-Related Air Pollution.

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Department of Obstetrics and Fetomaternal Medicine, University Hospital of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



Previous epidemiological studies indicate an association between maternal exposure to air pollution and an increased risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. We analyzed the association between the occurrence of mild/severe and early-/late-onset preeclampsia (PE) and traffic-related air pollution (TRAP).


Based on retrospective data, 50 pregnant women with PE were selected and matched with a control group of healthy pregnant women according to their age, parity, and number of fetuses. The total length of major roads around the women's home within a radius of 100, 200, 300, and 500 m and the distances from the domicile to the nearest 'first class' main road and freeway were used as a proxy indicator of TRAP. We compared a PE subgroup and control group in terms of their exposure to TRAP.


Late-onset PE cases showed a significantly higher occurrence with density of major roads within a radius of 100-300 m compared to early onset cases (p = 0.006; 0.02; 0.04). In addition, a significantly shorter distance to the nearest 'first class' main road was observed in late-onset PE cases (p = 0.0078).


Exposure to TRAP during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for the development of late-onset PE.

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