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Pre-eclampsia tests fail to make grade

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None of the current tests to identify risk of pre-eclampsia are effective and should not be used routinely in clinical practice, says research by the National Institute for Health Research.

Its NHS health technology assessment, published online, assessed methods for predicting and preventing pre-eclampsia.

The condition is responsible for complications in up to eight per cent of pregnancies but its cause is still unknown.

Professor Khalid Khan, a researcher from the University of Birmingham and colleagues, reviewed evidence on tests identifying risk of pre-eclampsia and treatments to prevent it. Overall, the quality of the studies of the 27 tests reviewed was poor and none were effective enough to recommend, they found.

‘The modelling revealed that prior testing with the sensitivities and specificities identified appeared to offer little as a way of improving cost-effectiveness,’ said Professor Khan. ‘Based on the evidence, none of the tests appeared sufficiently accurate to be clinically useful and the results of the model favoured no-test/treat-all strategies.’

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