Study Finds Elevated Levels of Cell-free DNA in First Trimester do Not Predict Preeclampsia

on February 11, 2012 10:34 AM EST

Brief facts about pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive disease characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms. (Photo: ADAM Inc)

In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting TM, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that elevated levels of cell-free DNA in the first trimester do not predict the subsequent development of preeclampsia.

"I wanted to identify if elevated levels of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal blood early in pregnancy could identify women at risk for the subsequent development of preeclampsia. I found that there is no significant difference in levels of total or free fetal DNA in the first trimester in women who subsequently develop preeclampsia," said Bob Silver, MD, with the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and Intermountain Healthcare, Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Silver conducted the study, entitled First Trimester Free Fetal DNA in The Maternal Circulation as a Predictor of Preeclampsia.

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Provided by Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

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