Featured Committee Opinion

First-Trimester Risk Assessment for Early-Onset Preeclampsia

Hypertensive disorders with adverse sequelae (including preterm birth, maternal morbidity and mortality, and long-term risk of maternal cardiovascular disease) complicate 5–10% of pregnancies. Early identification of pregnant women at risk of developing early-onset preeclampsia would theoretically allow referral for more intensive surveillance or application of preventive therapies to reduce the risk of severe disease. In practice, however, the effectiveness of such triage would be hindered by the low positive predictive value for early-onset preeclampsia reported in the literature. In spite of the modest predictive value of first-trimester preeclampsia risk assessment and the lack of data demonstrating improved clinical outcomes, commercial tests are being marketed for the prediction of preeclampsia in the first trimester. Taking a detailed medical history to evaluate for risk factors is currently the best and only recommended screening approach for preeclampsia; it should remain the method of screening for preeclampsia until studies show that aspirin or other interventions reduce the incidence of preeclampsia for women at high risk based on first-trimester predictive tests.

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