A new simple urine test may be able to detect early pre-eclampsia

28th March 2019 Clinical Negligence

Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a simple, non-invasive test that may be able to detect pre-eclampsia in early pregnancy. The urine test, known as the Congo Red Dot (CRD) measures the misfolded proteins in a women’s urine to determine whether or not she is suffering from pre-eclampsia providing results in just three minutes.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition which can affect pregnant women, usually during the second half of their pregnancy or soon after the baby is delivered. Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure and protein in the women’s urine in the early stage, with severe headaches, vision problems, nausea, and sudden oedema sometimes developing in the later stages. These symptoms should be picked up during routine antenatal appointments, however, if pre-eclampsia goes undiagnosed, it can result in serious complications for mothers and their babies.

Although most cases of pre-eclampsia do not cause any problems for the mother or baby, there is a risk of serious complications if eclampsia develops. Eclampsia is a type of convulsion or fit, usually lasting less than one minute, causing the mother’s arms, legs, neck or jaw to twitch involuntarily in repetitive, jerky movements. Whilst most women make a full recovery after eclampsia, there is a small risk of permanent disability or brain damage if the fits are severe. In the most serious cases, eclampsia can result in the death of both mother and baby.

Mothers suffering from pre-eclampsia should be monitored closely and magnesium sulphate will often be prescribed to reduce the risk of eclampsia developing. Early delivery is often necessary, however, this can also have its own risks to the baby.

The development of this new simple test is good news. Pre-eclampsia can sometimes be difficult to diagnose as some of the symptoms such as headaches, heart burn and oedema, often mimic those symptoms caused by routine pregnancy or other conditions. CRD is a special red dye which reacts to unique proteins in the urine of pregnant women with pre-eclampsia.

Whilst the test is thought to be an affordable solution to testing for pre-eclampsia, unfortunately, it will not be available for several years whilst it undergoes further testing. However, the fact that this is being developed currently is positive news for mothers-to-be.

If you have any concerns about treatment you have received relating to pre-eclampsia, please contact our expert clinical negligence team to discuss whether your treatment should have been handled differently.

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Kathryn Dyson is a Paralegallocated in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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