Importance: Preeclampsia affects approximately 4% of pregnancies in the United States. It is the second leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide and may lead to serious maternal complications, including stroke, eclampsia, and organ failure. Adverse perinatal outcomes for the fetus and newborn include intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, and stillbirth. Many of the complications associated with preeclampsia lead to early induction of labor or cesarean delivery and subsequent preterm birth.
Subpopulation considerations: Preeclampsia is more prevalent among African American women than among white women. Differences in prevalence may be, in part, due to African American women being disproportionally affected by risk factors for preeclampsia. African American women also have case fatality rates related to preeclampsia 3 times higher than rates among white women. Inequalities in access to adequate prenatal care may contribute to poor outcomes associated with preeclampsia in African American women.
Objective: To update the 1996 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for preeclampsia.
Evidence review: The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on the accuracy of screening and diagnostic tests for preeclampsia, the potential benefits and harms of screening for preeclampsia, the effectiveness of risk prediction tools, and the benefits and harms of treatment of screen-detected preeclampsia.
Findings: Given the evidence that treatment can reduce maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality, and the well-established accuracy of blood pressure measurements, the USPSTF found adequate evidence that screening for preeclampsia results in a substantial benefit for the mother and infant. In addition, there is adequate evidence to bound the harms of screening for and treatment of preeclampsia as no greater than small. Therefore, the USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that there is a substantial net benefit of screening for preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Conclusions and recommendation: The USPSTF recommends screening for preeclampsia in pregnant women with blood pressure measurements throughout pregnancy. (B recommendation).