The impact of the definition of preeclampsia on disease diagnosis and outcomes: a retrospective cohort study

Maya Reddy*, Sarah Fenn, Daniel Lorber Rolnik, Ben Willem Mol, Fabricio da Silva Costa, Euan M. Wallace, Kirsten R. Palmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The diagnostic criteria for preeclampsia have evolved from the traditional definition of de novo hypertension and proteinuria to a broader definition of hypertension with evidence of end-organ dysfunction. Although this change is endorsed by various societies such as the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there remains controversy with regard to the implementation of broader definitions and the most appropriate definition of end-organ dysfunction. Objective: This study aimed to assess the impact of different diagnostic criteria for preeclampsia on rates of disease diagnosis, disease severity, and adverse outcomes and to identify associations between each component of the different diagnostic criteria and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Study Design: We performed a retrospective cohort study of singleton pregnancies at Monash Health between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2018. Within this population, all cases of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia were reclassified according to the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2001, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2018, and International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2018 criteria. Differences in incidence of preeclampsia and maternal and perinatal outcomes were compared between the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2001 group and the extra cases identified by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2018 and International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2018. Outcomes assessed included biochemical markers of preeclampsia, a composite of adverse maternal outcomes, and a composite of adverse perinatal outcomes. Multiple logistic regression analysis was also performed to assess each component of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2018 and International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2018 criteria and their associations with adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. Results: Of 22,094 pregnancies, 751 (3.4%) women had preeclampsia as defined by any of the 3 criteria. Compared with International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2001, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2018 criteria identified an extra 42 women (n=654 vs n=696, 6.4% relative increase) with preeclampsia, and International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2018 identified an extra 97 women (n=654 vs n=751, 14.8% relative increase). The additional women identified by International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy 2018 exhibited a milder form of disease with lower rates of severe hypertension (62.4% vs 44.3%; P<.01) and magnesium sulfate use (11.9% vs 4.1%; P<.05) and a trend toward lower rates of adverse maternal outcomes (9.8% vs 4.1%). These women also delivered at a later gestation, and their babies had a lower number of neonatal intensive care unit admissions and adverse perinatal outcomes. Objective features such as fetal growth restriction, thrombocytopenia, renal and liver impairment, and proteinuria were associated with an increased risk of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes, whereas subjective neurologic features demonstrated poorer associations. Conclusion: Implementation of broader definitions of preeclampsia will result in an increased incidence of disease diagnosis. However, because women who exclusively fulfill the new criteria have a milder phenotype of the disease, it remains uncertain whether this will translate to improved outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Early online date12 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • classification
  • preeclampsia

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