The estimation of levels of proteinuria in women with pre-eclampsia is not a clinically useful test to predict fetal or maternal outcomes. Researchers publishing in the open access journal BMC Medicine, present evidence that could change current clinical practice.
Proteinuria, its presence and degree, is currently an essential criterion in diagnosing pre-eclampsia and is widely considered to predict adverse outcomes for mother and fetus. In a systematic, quantitative review of 16 primary research articles including 6749 women, the authors found that proteinuria was a poor predictor of maternal and fetal complications. Outcomes tested for included eclampsia, abruption, HELLP syndrome, stillbirth, neonatal death, perinatal death, small for gestational age and NICU admission.
Shakila Thangaratinam of Birmingham Women's Hospital and her colleagues used four databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, MEDION and the Cochrane Library) to select the studies for systematic review. By calculating likelihood ratios for positive and negative test results for each individual test threshold and each outcome of interest, they demonstrated the clinical relevance of assessing proteinuria levels in pre-eclampsia for each outcome. The LRs were not significant for any adverse maternal outcome. At cut-off level of proteinuria of 5g in 24hours, they found a slight association with stillbirths for positive test results. However, with no significant positive and negative LRs, proteinuria estimates were found to be poor predictors of neonatal and perinatal deaths.
According to Thangaratinam, 'Our systematic review has shown proteinuria levels in pre eclampsia to be poor predictors of adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. We need large well-conducted studies to estimate the risk of complications especially in the subgroup of women who have pre eclampsia before 34 weeks when the management decision is often critical to mother and baby.'
Notes to Editors:
1. Estimation of proteinuria as a predictor of complications of pre-eclampsia: a systematic review
Shakila Thangaratinam, Arri Coomarasamy, Fidelma O'Mahony, Steve Sharp, Javier Zamora, Khalid S Khan and Khaled MK Ismail
BMC Medicine (in press)
During embargo, article available upon request via the media contact for this release
After the embargo, article available at the journal website:
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of publication.
2. BMC Medicine - the flagship medical journal of the BMC series - publishes original research articles, commentaries and reviews in all areas of medical science and clinical practice. To be appropriate for BMC Medicine, articles need to be of outstanding quality, broad interest and special importance. BMC Medicine (ISSN 1741-7015) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Current Contents, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.