Validity of the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2013 Aug;92(8):943-50. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12159. Epub 2013 May 29.


Objective: Evaluating the validity of pre-eclampsia registration in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN) according to both broader and restricted disease definitions.

Design: Retrospective nested cohort study.

Setting: Multicenter study.

Population: In this study, two cohorts of women with pre-eclamptic pregnancies registered in the MBRN were selected. Study group 1 contained 966 pregnancies from 1967 to 2002. Concomitant participation in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study 2 was required. Study group 2 comprised 1138 pregnancies recorded in 1967-2005, examined as a pre-eclampsia biobank was established.

Methods: Diagnostic criteria vary. The broader criteria for pre-eclampsia, used by the MBRN, are one measurement of hypertension and proteinuria (Criterion A). Criteria used internationally today require two measurements of hypertension and proteinuria (Criterion B). The diagnostic validities in Study groups 1 and 2 were judged against medical records according to Criterion A and B, respectively.

Main outcome measures: Positive predictive value (PPV) and trend analyses.

Results: The diagnosis was confirmed in 88.3% of pregnancies in Study group 1, and in 63.6% in Study group 2. PPV was high for Study group 1 throughout the period. For Study group 2, results improved significantly after 1986.

Conclusions: This study ascertains high PPV of pre-eclampsia in the MBRN using broader traditional criteria, although the PPV decreases through assessment using restricted modern criteria. This illustrates how inclusion of direct measurements may improve registration of complex disorders defined by changing diagnostic criteria.

Keywords: Antenatal care and diagnosis; Medical Birth Registry of Norway; evaluation of diagnostic criteria; health registry data; hypertension in pregnancy; pre-eclampsia; validation of diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries*
  • Retrospective Studies