TUESDAY, Sept. 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Blood tests may help identify women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who are at high risk for complications during pregnancy, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Researchers analyzed data from 497 pregnant women with SLE and 207 pregnant women without the disease. The patients were checked every month of pregnancy. The team found that as early as 12 to 15 weeks into pregnancies, changes in circulating angiogenic factors can signal risk for complications such as preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and death of the fetus or newborn.

Analyzing these biomarkers could also rule out increased risk of severe complications in most patients, resulting in less anxiety and more appropriate care, according to the authors of the study. "Given that over 20 percent of pregnant women with lupus antiphospholipid antibodies experience adverse pregnancy outcomes, the ability to identify patients early in pregnancy, who are destined for poor outcomes, would significantly impact care of this high-risk population," lead investigator Jane Salmon, M.D., of the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, said in a journal news release.

The study shows that when levels of the biomarkers are normal, 95 percent of women with SLE will have no pregnancy complications, according to Roberto Romero, M.D., the journal's editor-in-chief for obstetrics. "Therefore, the simple measurement of these biomarkers can be highly reassuring to mothers, families and physicians," Romero, chief of the Perinatology Research Branch at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in the news release.

One author is a co-inventor on multiple patents related to angiogenic markers in preeclampsia; several authors disclosed financial ties to Aggamin, Siemens, Roche Diagnostics, and Thermofisher Scientific.

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Updated on May 31, 2022

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