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Read Original Story

Hope for women with preeclampsia?

Rating

3 Star

Hope for women with preeclampsia?

Our Review Summary

The story discusses new findings in the early detection of pre-eclampsia and mentions that this may lead to new drug treatments for this pregnancy-related condition. The new findings will likely lead to a blood test for certain proteins as early markers of pre-eclampsia. The story mentions that this early screening for pre-eclampsia may be available in a few months. The story does not mention the estimated cost of the new test.

The story mentions that the only treatment for severe pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby no matter what the gestational age. This is typically the case, but it may not be the only treatment, depending on the severity of pre-eclampsia. Sometimes, if a woman is far from term her blood pressure may be controlled by medication and she and her unborn baby may be monitored in the hospital. Additionally, true pre-eclampsia also involves changes in kidney function, that is, more protein in the urine, so high blood pressure in pregnancy does not always result in pre-eclampsia. The story does provide prevalence data of pre-eclampsia and related premature births; however, the story only uses one woman’s story of a worst case scenario. Many women who develop pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are near term and deliver healthy babies, though some are premature.

The story claims that the new findings would “greatly reduce one of the most feared complications of pregnancy”. We do not yet know if having this test will be able to prevent the changes of pre-eclampsia or reduce premature births. Current medications and treatments would still be used even if the onset of pre-eclampsia could be predicted and treated earlier in pregnancy. There is no quantification of the benefit of this test for pre-eclampsia. It may very well lead to early detection and treatment of dangerously high blood pressure in pregnancy, but discussion of new drugs is speculative at this time. Earlier treatment with existing blood pressure medications may harm the development of the fetus. Newer drugs might help the mother, but deprive the fetus of blood.

The story does not emphasize that the treatment of pre-eclampsia is a constant weighing of the benefits for the mother (i.e. prevention of eclampsia and the effects of high-blood pressure on the kidneys) against the health and development of the fetus. Lastly, the condition may “end right after pregnancy”, but women who develop pre-eclampsia are at greater risk of developing the condition in a subsequent pregnancy, and they are at greater risk of high blood pressure and related heart disease later in life.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention the estimated cost of the new test for pre-eclampsia.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

There is no quantification of the benefit of this test for pre-eclampsia. It may very well lead to early detection and treatment of dangerously high blood pressure in pregnancy, but discussion of new drugs is speculative at this time.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Earlier treatment with existing blood pressure medications may harm the development of the fetus. Newer drugs might help the mother, but deprive the fetus of blood. There is no mention in this story that the treatments of pre-eclampsia are a constant weighing of the benefits for the mother (i.e. prevention of eclampsia and the effects of high-blood pressure on the kidneys) against the health and development of the fetus.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not discuss the study (or studies) in which these potential markers for pre-elcampsia were found. Also, the story claims that this finding would “greatly reduce one of the most feared complications of pregnancy”. We do not yet know if having this test will be able to prevent the changes of pre-eclampsia or reduce premature births. Current medications and treatments would still be used even if pre-eclampsia could be predicted and was treated earlier in pregnancy.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does provide prevalence data of pre-eclampsia and related premature births; however, the story only uses one woman’s story of a worst case scenario. Many women who develop pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are near term and deliver healthy babies, though some are premature.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story provides interviews with a study author, as well as a practicing obstetrician to get perspective on this potential advance in the detection and treatment of pre-eclampsia. The story may have been stronger if it included a little more about the study details.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story mentions that the only treatment for severe pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby no matter what the gestational age. This is typically the case, but it may not be the only treatment, depending on the severity of pre-eclampsia. Sometimes, if a woman is very far from term her blood pressure may be controlled by medication and she and her unborn baby may be monitored in the hospital. Additionally, true pre-eclampsia also involves changes in kidney function, that is, more protein in the urine, so high blood pressure in pregnancy does not always result in pre-eclampsia.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story discusses new findings that may result in the early detection of pre-eclampsia. The story mentions that this may lead to new drugs for the treatment of this pregnancy-related condition. The story mentions that the test to screen for pre-eclampsia may be available in a few months.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

A blood test to detect certain proteins as early markers of pre-eclampsia is a new approach to possibly preventing complications related to this condition.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

The story does not appear to rely solely or largely on a press release.

Total Score: 5 of 10 Satisfactory

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