First-trimester screening for early and late preeclampsia using maternal characteristics, biomarkers, and estimated placental volume

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Background Preeclampsia is a major cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. First-trimester screening has been shown to be effective in selecting patients at an increased risk for preeclampsia in some studies. Objective We sought to evaluate the feasibility of screening for preeclampsia in the first trimester based on maternal characteristics, medical history, biomarkers, and placental volume. Study Design This is a prospective observational nonintervention cohort study in an unselected US population. Patients who presented for an ultrasound examination between 11-13+6 weeks’ gestation were included. The following parameters were assessed and were used to calculate the risk of preeclampsia: maternal characteristics (demographic, anthropometric, and medical history), maternal biomarkers (mean arterial pressure, uterine artery pulsatility index, placental growth factor, pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, and maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein), and estimated placental volume. After delivery, medical records were searched for the diagnosis of preeclampsia. Detection rates for early-onset preeclampsia (<34 weeks’ gestation) and later-onset preeclampsia (≥34 weeks’ gestation) for 5% and 10% false-positive rates using various combinations of markers were calculated. Results We screened 1288 patients of whom 1068 (82.99%) were available for analysis. In all, 46 (4.3%) developed preeclampsia, with 13 (1.22%) having early-onset preeclampsia and 33 (3.09%) having late-onset preeclampsia. Using maternal characteristics, serum biomarkers, and uterine artery pulsatility index, the detection rate of early-onset preeclampsia for either 5% or 10% false-positive rate was 85%. With the same protocol, the detection rates for preeclampsia with delivery <37 weeks were 52% and 60% for 5% and 10% false-positive rates, respectively. Based on maternal characteristics, the detection rates for late-onset preeclampsia were 15% and 48% for 5% and 10%, while for preeclampsia at ≥37 weeks’ gestation the detection rates were 24% and 43%, respectively. The detection rates for late-onset preeclampsia and preeclampsia with delivery at >37 weeks’ gestation were not improved by the addition of biomarkers. Conclusion Screening for preeclampsia at 11-13+6 weeks’ gestation using maternal characteristics and biomarkers is associated with a high detection rate for a low false-positive rate. Screening for late-onset preeclampsia yields a much poorer performance. In this study the utility of estimated placental volume and mean arterial pressure was limited but larger studies are needed to ultimately determine the effectiveness of these markers.




Sonek, J., Krantz, D., Carmichael, J., Downing, C., Jessup, K., Haidar, Z., … McKenna, D. (2018). First-trimester screening for early and late preeclampsia using maternal characteristics, biomarkers, and estimated placental volume. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 218(1), 126.e1-126.e13.

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