Preeclampsia is an irregularity in the placenta during pregnancy and is the leading cause of premature delivery worldwide. This irregularity causes nearly 20 percent of maternal deaths in the US, but little is known about its cause and how it can be treated. The symptoms are similar to those of a regular pregnancy––nausea, swelling, and headaches––meaning it is often undiagnosed and untreated until it’s too late. Dr. Kara Rood, maternal and fetal medicine specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has invented a simple, non-invasive urine test to uncover whether a woman has preeclampsia in a matter of minutes.
According to Rood, a protein in the urine will take on a misfolded shape that is apparent in Congo red dye. The test has been found to be 90 percent effective in detecting preeclampsia.
Although the test has not yet been approved by the FDA, there are hopes of spreading this test to OB-GYNs across the country to help detect this fatal condition early on in pregnancy.
- Dr. Kara Rood, maternal and fetal medicine specialist, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center