Objectives: To investigate the incidence of clinical, ultrasonographic and biochemical findings related to pre-eclampsia (PE) in pregnancies with COVID-19, and to assess their accuracy to differentiate between PE and the PE-like features associated with COVID-19.
Design: A prospective, observational study.
Setting: Tertiary referral hospital.
Participants: Singleton pregnancies with COVID-19 at >20+0 weeks.
Methods: Forty-two consecutive pregnancies were recruited and classified into two groups: severe and non-severe COVID-19, according to the occurrence of severe pneumonia. Uterine artery pulsatility index (UtAPI) and angiogenic factors (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1/placental growth factor [sFlt-1/PlGF]) were assessed in women with suspected PE.
Main outcome measures: Incidence of signs and symptoms related to PE, such as hypertension, proteinuria, thrombocytopenia, elevated liver enzymes, abnormal UtAPI and increased sFlt-1/PlGF.
Results: Thirty-four cases were classified as non-severe and 8 as severe COVID-19. Five (11.9%) women presented signs and symptoms of PE, all five being among the severe COVID-19 cases (62.5%). However, abnormal sFlt-1/PlGF and UtAPI could only be demonstrated in one case. One case remained pregnant after recovery from severe pneumonia and had a spontaneous resolution of the PE-like syndrome.
Conclusions: Pregnant women with severe COVID-19 can develop a PE-like syndrome that might be distinguished from actual PE by sFlt-1/PlGF, LDH and UtAPI assessment. Healthcare providers should be aware of its existence and monitor pregnancies with suspected pre-eclampsia with caution.
Tweetable abstract: This study shows that a pre-eclampsia-like syndrome could be present in some pregnancies with severe COVID-19.
Keywords: Angiogenic factors; COVID-19; PlGF; SARS; SARS-CoV-2; pre-eclampsia; pre-eclampsia-like syndrome; pregnancy; sFlt-1.
© 2020 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.