Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and neonatal death worldwide, yet effective strategies are lacking for prevention and treatment. A new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, explores the Predictive Value of the sFlt-1:PlGF Ratio in Women with Suspected Preeclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.
Pre-eclampsia affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.


Preeclampsia, a heterogeneous, multisystem disorder defined by the new onset of hypertension and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation, affects 2 to 5% of pregnancies worldwide. It is characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia is associated with high risks of iatrogenic preterm delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, placental abruption, and perinatal mortality, along with maternal morbidity and mortality.

The cause of preeclampsia is incompletely understood, but the disorder is thought to be due to placental malperfusion resulting from abnormal remodeling of maternal spiral arteries. In preeclampsia, circulating maternal serum levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1) are increased, and placental growth factor (PlGF) levels are decreased. An antagonist of PlGF and vascular endothelial growth factor, sFlt-1 causes vasoconstriction and endothelial damage that may lead to fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia. A high ratio of sFlt-1 to PlGF is associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia and may be a better predictor of risk than either biomarker alone.


There is a need for a reliable predictor of preeclampsia (particularly its absence) in the short term in women with suspected preeclampsia. Women with suggestive symptoms or signs are often hospitalized until preeclampsia and related adverse outcomes have been ruled out. Others who require hospitalization may be overlooked. Although no preventive or therapeutic strategy is yet available, with the exception of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid, which has a moderate preventive effect in high-risk pregnancies after the first trimester,  clinical experience suggests that early detection and monitoring are beneficial. 

Dr. Manu Vatish Senior Clinical Fellow in Obstetrics from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology collaborated on a new paper: Predictive Value of the sFlt-1:PlGF Ratio in Women with Suspected Preeclampsia. (New England Journal of Medicine) 

Read full paper here 

Read more about Improving the Prediction of Preeclampsia here

Read more about our Preeclampsia research here

Dr. Manu Vatish, Senior Clinical Fellow in Obstetrics 

Similar stories

Women's Health Strategy for England Launched

The government has published the first ever Women's Health Strategy for England to tackle the gender health gap. Menopause, Endometriosis, Contraception and Fertility treatment are highlighted as some of the top issues women have asked for action on. The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health welcome and fully support this bold and exciting strategy to help improve the health of millions of women in England.

Pregnancy is more likely with urine tests and timed intercourse

Dr Tatjana Gibbons leads study that suggests a woman's chance of conceiving is improved by using urine tests to detect the optimum time for intercourse, but further research is still needed to assess whether timed intercourse via any ovulation detection method creates a difference in live births and pregnancy rates.

Dawes-Redman Education awarded funds from Huntleigh Healthcare

The Dawes-Redman Education programme which offers virtual CTG Analysis training sessions to Obstetric consultants, antenatal and student midwifes has received generous funds from Huntleigh Healthcare for the next 3 years.

First UK pilot study of newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) launched in Oxford

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, but treatable, genetic disease affecting approximately 1 in 10,000 births, and it typically presents in infancy and early childhood.

Professor Collins awarded Sir Jules Thorn Translational Biomedical Research Award 2021

Professor Sally Collins has been awarded the prestigious and highly competitive Sir Jules Thorn Translational Biomedical Research Award 2021 for further translational development of the OxNNet Toolkit.

Global INTERCOVID-2022 Study launched to compare Covid-19 during pregnancy, with pregnant women without the infection.

The Oxford Maternal & Perinatal Health Institute (OMPHI) has launched the 2022 round of the global study to evaluate the effects of Covid-19 variants and vaccination in pregnancy.