Lancet. 2005;365(9461):785-99. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)17987-2.


Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of maternal mortality (15-20% in developed countries) and morbidities (acute and long-term), perinatal deaths, preterm birth, and intrauterine growth restriction. Key findings support a causal or pathogenetic model of superficial placentation driven by immune maladaptation, with subsequently reduced concentrations of angiogenic growth factors and increased placental debris in the maternal circulation resulting in a (mainly hypertensive) maternal inflammatory response. The final phenotype, maternal pre-eclamptic syndrome, is further modulated by pre-existing maternal cardiovascular or metabolic fitness. Currently, women at risk are identified on the basis of epidemiological and clinical risk factors, but the diagnostic criteria of pre-eclampsia remain unclear, with no known biomarkers. Treatment is still prenatal care, timely diagnosis, proper management, and timely delivery. Many interventions to lengthen pregnancy (eg, treatment for mild hypertension, plasma-volume expansion, and corticosteroid use) have a poor evidence base. We review findings on the diagnosis, risk factors, and pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia and the present status of its prediction, prevention, and management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / physiopathology
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / prevention & control
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome