Blood tests may pre­dict preg­nancy risks for women with lu­pus

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

Blood tests may iden­tify women with lu­pus who are at high risk for com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing preg­nancy, ac­cord­ing to a new study.

Lu­pus is an im­mune sys­tem dis­or­der known to in­crease the chances of preg­nancy prob­lems such as preeclamp­sia and mis­car­riage.

This new re­search found that mon­i­tor­ing for cer­tain “biomark­ers” -- or in­di­ca­tors -- in the blood of lu­pus pa­tients dur­ing early preg­nancy can iden­tify those who are likely to have nor­mal preg­nan­cies and those who are at risk for prob­lems, the study’s au­thors said.

The re­searchers an­a­lyzed data from 497 preg­nant women with lu­pus and 207 preg­nant women with­out the dis­ease. They were checked ev­ery month of preg­nancy.

The study found that biomark­ers called cir­cu­lat­ing an­gio­genic fac­tors -- which reg­u­late de­vel­op­ment of the pla­centa and in­flu­ence the health of blood ves­sels in the mother -can be as­sessed early in preg­nancy.

As early as 12 to 15 weeks into preg­nan­cies, changes in these biomark­ers can sig­nal risk for com­pli­ca­tions such as the blood pres­sure prob­lem preeclamp­sia, fe­tal growth prob­lems, preterm birth and death of the fe­tus or new­born, the study au­thors said.

An­a­lyz­ing these biomark­ers could also rule out in­creased risk of se­vere com­pli­ca­tions in most pa­tients, re­sult­ing in less anx­i­ety and more ap­pro­pri­ate care, ac­cord­ing to the au­thors of the study pub­lished Sept. 29 in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Ob­stet­rics & Gyne­col­ogy.

“Given that over 20 per­cent of preg­nant women with [lu­pus] ex­pe­ri­ence ad­verse preg­nancy out­comes, the abil­ity to iden­tify pa­tients early in preg­nancy, who are des­tined for poor out­comes, would sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact care of this high risk pop­u­la­tion,” lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor Dr. Jane Salmon, of the Hos­pi­tal for Spe­cial Surgery and Weill Cor­nell Med­i­cal Col­lege in New York City, said in a jour­nal news re­lease.

The study shows that when lev­els of the biomark­ers are nor­mal, 95 per­cent of women with lu­pus will have no preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions, ac­cord­ing to Dr. Roberto Romero, the jour­nal’s editor-in-chief for ob­stet­rics.

“There­fore, the sim­ple mea­sure­ment of these biomark­ers can be highly re­as­sur­ing to moth­ers, fam­i­lies and physi­cians,” Romero, chief of the Peri­na­tol­ogy Re­search Branch at the U.S. Na­tional In­sti­tute of Child Health and Hu­man De­vel­op­ment, said in the news re­lease.

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