Yale-developed test can help predict and diagnose preeclampsia
New Haven — Researchers at Yale School of Medicine
have developed a simple urine test to rapidly predict and diagnose
preeclampsia, a common, but serious hypertensive complication of
Dubbed the "Congo Red Dot Test" by the research team, the test
accurately predicted preeclampsia in a study of 347 pregnant women,
allowing health care providers to offer better preventive care to
pregnant women. The research will be presented Feb. 4 at the Annual
Scientific Meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) in Chicago.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 63,000 pregnant
women die each year because of severe preeclampsia, as well as a related
condition called eclampsia, which can cause sudden, convulsive
"There is a critical need in the developing world for low-cost
diagnostics for preeclampsia," said lead researcher Irina Buhimschi, MD, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics,
Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine. "This
test will help identify high-risk patients that should be transported
from remote settings to facilities where there is access to specialized
care for preeclampsia, such as magnesium sulfate therapy."
Buhimschi said that despite its effectiveness in preventing eclamptic
seizures, magnesium sulfate is underutilized in developing countries.
This is due in part to the lack of consistent and low-cost ways to
identify preeclampsia patients who are in need of intervention, which
the test could provide. She said that the test could also identify women
who needed to deliver their babies immediately, in turn reducing the
incidence of unnecessary early birth, because delivery is the only
effective treatment for preeclampsia.
The team also found that the Congo Red Dot Test could be used as a
marker for assessing misfolded proteins. The test is based on a common
red dye, originally used to stain textiles, that sticks to misfolded
proteins. Previous studies by Buhimschi and her team have found that
preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific protein misfolding disease.
"In this new work, we have seen a link between preeclampsia and other
disorders caused by misfolded proteins such as Alzheimer's or prion
disease," said Buhimschi. "This may provide the foundation for new
therapeutic approaches to reduce the burden of this disorder."
Other Yale School of Medicine authors on the study included Edmund Funai, Guomao Zhao, Antonette Dulay, Sarah Lee, Christina Han, Erika Werner, Stephen Thung and Catalin Buhimschi.
The research was funded by a McKern Award for Perinatal Research.
Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. www.ynhh.org