Preeclampsia and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection: a systematic review

J Hypertens. 2022 Sep 1;40(9):1629-1638. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000003213. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Objective: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease that has rapidly spread worldwide, causing hundreds of thousand deaths. Normal placentation is characterized by many processes strictly regulated during pregnancy. If placentation is impaired, it can lead to gestational disorders, such as preeclampsia that is a multisystem disorder that occurs in 2-8% of pregnancies worldwide.

Methods: We performed a systematic search to understand the potential involvement of SARS-CoV-2 in preeclampsia onset using the databases, PubMed and Web of Science until 31 January 2022.

Results: SARS-CoV-2 infection not only causes damage to the respiratory system but also can infect human placenta cells impairing pivotal processes necessary for normal placenta development. The inflammatory response trigged by COVID-19 disease is very similar to that one found in preeclampsia pregnancies suggesting a possible link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and preeclampsia onset during pregnancy.

Conclusion: Some studies showed that pregnancies affected by COVID-19 had higher incidence of preeclampsia compared with SARS-CoV-2-negative ones. However, increased blood pressure found in COVID-19 pregnancies does not allow to associate COVID-19 to preeclampsia as hypertension is a common factor to both conditions. At present, no diagnostic tools are available to discriminate real preeclampsia from preeclampsia-like syndrome in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, new specific diagnostic tools are necessary to assure an appropriate diagnosis of preeclampsia in these patients, especially in case of severe COVID-19 disease.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2