Analysis of cardiovascular oscillations: a new approach to the early prediction of pre-eclampsia

Chaos. 2007 Mar;17(1):015113. doi: 10.1063/1.2711660.


Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a serious disorder with high morbidity and mortality occurring during pregnancy; 3%-5% of all pregnant women are affected. Early prediction is still insufficient in clinical practice. Although most pre-eclamptic patients show pathological uterine perfusion in the second trimester, this parameter has a positive predictive accuracy of only 30%, which makes it unsuitable for early, reliable prediction. The study is based on the hypothesis that alterations in cardiovascular regulatory behavior can be used to predict PE. Ninety-six pregnant women in whom Doppler investigation detected perfusion disorders of the uterine arteries were included in the study. Twenty-four of these pregnant women developed PE after the 30th week of gestation. During pregnancy, additional several noninvasive continuous blood pressure recordings were made over 30 min under resting conditions by means of a finger cuff. The time series extracted of systolic as well as diastolic beat-to-beat pressures and the heart rate were studied by variability and coupling analysis to find predictive factors preceding genesis of the disease. In the period between the 18th and 26th weeks of pregnancy, three special variability and baroreflex parameters were able to predict PE several weeks before clinical manifestation. Discriminant function analysis of these parameters was able to predict PE with a sensitivity and specificity of 87.5% and a positive predictive value of 70%. The combined clinical assessment of uterine perfusion and cardiovascular variability demonstrates the best current prediction several weeks before clinical manifestation of PE.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Clocks*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oscillometry / methods*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity