Does a predisposition to the metabolic syndrome sensitize women to develop pre-eclampsia?


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Abstract

ObjectiveThis study aimed to identify those factors in the non-pregnant state that distinguished women who developed pre-eclampsia from those who had normotensive pregnancies.Design and settingThis was a retrospective analysis of anthropometry, blood pressure, biochemical and haematological variables in 62 women with pre-eclampsia and 84 normotensive pregnant women who took part in studies of the pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia. Pregnant volunteers were seen, after admission to hospital or in the outpatient clinic, and followed-up at 6 weeks and 6 months post-partum in the outpatient clinic or their home.ParticipantsProteinuric pre-eclampsia was defined as blood pressure > 140/90 mmHg with proteinuria of at least 300 mg/24 h after 20 weeks gestation, in women with no history of hypertension and whose blood pressure returned to normal levels by 6 months post-partum. Normotensive pregnancy was defined as blood pressure ≥ 130/90 mmHg without proteinuria.Main outcome measuresThe primary outcome measures were blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein cholesterol and markers of severity of pre-eclampsia.ResultsRegardless of parity, women with pre-eclampsia had elevated BMI before, during and after pregnancy compared with women who had normotensive pregnancies. Triglycerides were significantly elevated in women who had pre-eclampsia both before and after delivery, while total and LDL cholesterol were elevated significantly at both visits after delivery. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which by definition were elevated antepartum in women with pre-eclampsia, remained higher at post-partum visits compared with women who had normotensive pregnancies. Women with pre-eclampsia reported a greatly increased frequency of both maternal hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Markers of severity of pre-eclampsia, which normalized by 6 months post-partum, included plasma creatinine, uric acid, albumin, endothelin 1 and urinary protein, 2,3, dinor-6-keto-PGF, blood platelet and neutrophil counts.ConclusionThe relative elevation of blood pressure, BMI and lipids in the non-pregnant state are features of the metabolic syndrome and may be important sensitizing factors contributing to the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia. A familial predisposition to pre-eclampsia may operate partly through these mechanisms.

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