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Pregnancy hypertension marker found.

Pregnancy hypertension marker found

Abnormally low levels of a specific compound in the urineearly in pregnancy may precede the development of pregnancy-induced hypertension--and thus serve as a possible marker for the rise in high blood pressure seen in 7 to 10 percent of pregnancies that can threaten the life of both mother and fetus. So say scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, who suggest that therapy as simple as the use of aspirin may help prevent the condition in women who are at risk. Pregnancy-induced hypertension occurs most frequently in first-time teenage mothers.

During a normal pregnancy, levels of a hormone-like substancecalled prostacyclin are increased. Because prostacyclin dilates blood vessels and inhibits platelet aggregation, it is thought to help keep blood pressure at safe levels during pregnancy. The Nashville group previously found that the elevation of prostacyclin is accompanied by an increase in its metabolite, 2,3-dinor-6-keto-prostaglandin F1 , in the urine of pregnant women.

However, in a recent study of 67 high-risk teenage patients,the scientists discovered that the 12 women who later developed hypertension had only a twofold to threefold increase in excretion over their nonpregnant levels, compared with an eightfold increase in women with normal blood pressure and a sevenfold increase in those with chronic hypertension. The difference was apparent at fewer than 20 weeks gestation; pregnancy-induced hypertension usually appears after 22 to 24 weeks of gestation, disappearing after birth.

The study, which was reported in the May CIRCULATION,suggests that the determination of urinary 2,3-dinor-6-keto-prostaglandin

F1 concentrations be used to alert physicians to a pregnant patient who may develop high blood pressure.
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Publication:Science News
Date:May 30, 1987
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