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Test Aids Diagnosis of Preeclampsia

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Jan 2012
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Image: The Alere Triage MeterPro (Photo courtesy of Alere).
Image: The Alere Triage MeterPro (Photo courtesy of Alere).
A test with high sensitivity and specificity level helps diagnosis of early onset preeclampsia.

The triage placental growth factor (PLGF) test is a fluorescence immunoassay, which, when used in conjunction with a Triage Meter enables the quantitative determination of PLGF in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) anticoagulated plasma samples. Together with other diagnostic and clinical information, the test aids in the diagnosis of preeclampsia.

The Alere (Linz, Austria) Triage PLGF test can provide a PLGF level from a maternal plasma specimen in just 15 minutes. The Triage MeterPro is a portable fluorescence instrument used to measure the results of the Triage tests from Alere. The Triage MeterPro can be used in a laboratory or in a point-of-care setting. It uses a Class 1 laser as a light source. Light from the laser hits a test device that has been inserted in the meter. This causes the fluorescent dye in the test device to give off energy. The more energy the fluorescent dye gives off, the stronger the signal.

The current criteria for defining preeclampsia (raised blood pressure and protein in urine) are nonspecific, appear late in the development of the disease, and result in over-diagnosis because of their poor specificity.

The Lancet online December 15, 2011 published an editorial that highlights the fact that many maternal deaths in the UK are associated with substandard care and are potentially preventable. The article suggests that it is the failure to diagnose or appropriately manage preeclampsia, which is the most common cause of maternal death.

Preeclampsia is a serious and potentially fatal condition that arises in pregnancy, usually in the second or third trimester. The exact cause is unknown but it is thought to be related to a problem with the placenta. The nonspecificity of signs and symptoms contribute to making clinical diagnosis a significant challenge, this represents a high risk to both mother and child.

Prof. Christopher Redman, emeritus professor of Obstetrics at John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford, United Kingdom) commented, “A reliable and specific test that aids in the diagnosis of those aspects of the preeclampsia syndrome that jeopardize the safety of mother and/or unborn baby would be invaluable. Alere Triage PLGF is a major advance in the assessment for preterm disease.”

Related Links:
John Radcliffe Hospital

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