Maternal Serum CA 125 Levels in the Diagnosis of Abruptio Placentae

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To evaluate measurements of maternal serum CA 125 for the diagnosis of abruptio placentae.


This investigation was conducted at Swedish Medical Center/Seattle from December 1991 through April 1992. During the study period, we identified 21 consecutive patients with a clinical diagnosis of abruptio placentae. In addition, we enrolled two groups of patients whose pregnancies were not complicated by placental abruption (28 preterm controls and 53 term controls).


Mean maternal serum levels of CA 125 were significantly higher among women with abruptio placentae (40.6 ± 29.6 U/mL) than among preterm controls (26.6 ± 17.2 U/mL) or term controls (22.0 ± 11.4 U/mL). Using a positive threshold of 35 U/mL, the sensitivity and specificity of maternal serum CA 125 for abruptio placentae were 42.9% (95% confidence interval [CII 21.7-64.1) and 92.5% (95% CI 85.4-99.6), respectively.


These findings support an earlier report documenting higher mean maternal serum levels of CA 125 among women with pregnancies complicated by abruptio placentae than in control subjects. However, measurement of maternal serum CA 125 does not appear to be a useful marker for the diagnosis of abruptio placentae. At present, clinical diagnosis of abruptio placentae, with the aid of ultrasonography to rule out other causes of late gestational hemorrhage, should be considered the most sensitive and specific method of detecting this pregnancy complication.

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