Preeclampsia impacts between two and eight percent of pregnancies, according to the March of Dimes. The condition, which causes elevated blood pressure and swelling, can lead to serious complications before, during or after childbirth. Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center may have found a quicker, non-invasive way to diagnose preeclampsia—potentially saving lives.

While the test is still in the trial phase and isn’t FDA-approved for use, it’s designed to identify preeclampsia accurately in three minutes. This quick-use tool would allow doctors to identify and manage the condition earlier.

photo: John Looy via Unsplash 

Dr. Kara Rood, lead author of the study and maternal-fetal medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center said, in a press statement, “Giving birth is the only cure for preeclampsia, but it can develop as early as the second trimester.” Dr. Rood went on to add, “The quicker we identify women with the condition, the better chance they have of carrying their babies to full term and having a healthy delivery.”

So how does this test work? A red dye reacts with the proteins found in the urine of pregnant women with preeclampsia. This allows doctors to definitively diagnose the condition, eliminating any guesswork. The study researchers are hoping to have the test FDA-approved for use within the next few years.

—Erica Loop




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