Pre-eclampsia 'linked to dementia risk'

19 October 2018 08:27

Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications for pregnant women

Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious complications for pregnant women

Pregnant women who suffer from pre-eclampsia have a greater risk of developing dementia, new research suggests.

The study found that the pregnancy condition is related to the onset of dementia later in life, particularly vascular dementia which is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

Pre-eclampsia sees pregnant women experience an onset of high blood pressure and other signs of organ dysfunction, which can lead to several serious complications.

Higher risk

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study examined data on all Danish women who gave birth between 1978 and 2015.

They found that after an average follow-up of 21 years, women with a history of pre-eclampsia had a 3.5 times higher risk of vascular dementia compared with women who did not.

They also had a 1.5 times higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and a 1.4 times higher risk of other or non-specific dementias.

Risk of any dementia was higher for women with a history of recurrent pre-eclampsia than for women with pre-eclampsia in a single pregnancy.

"Pre-eclampsia was associated with an increased risk of dementia, particularly vascular dementia," the authors concluded. "Asking about a history of pre-eclampsia could help physicians to identify women who might benefit from screening for early signs of disease, allowing for early clinical intervention."

Hospital trust introduces new pre-eclampsia test

Meanwhile it has emerged that one NHS trust in England has decided to adopt the use of a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-approved diagnostic test for pre-eclampsia following a hospital trial.

Roche Diagnostics said that its test, combined with a clinical examination, can predict with almost 100% accuracy that a pregnant woman will not develop pre-eclampsia within the following seven days.

Roche said in 2016 Nice guidelines recommended that a test be used to help rule-out pre-eclampsia in women presenting with suspected pre-eclampsia between 20 weeks and 34 weeks plus six days of gestation in conjunction with standard clinical assessment and subsequent clinical follow-up.

Geoff Twist, managing director at Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, said: "I am delighted that Oxford University Hospitals will be introducing the test as within standard clinical practice, reducing uncertainty and enable care to be focused on those who need it most.

"This test has been recommended by Nice and has the potential to be quickly expanded at many hospital sites."

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