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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the potential value of combining uterine artery Doppler ultrasonography with the measurement of maternal serum pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), free beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG), activin A and inhibin A at 22 + 0 to 24 + 6 weeks' gestation, in the prediction of pregnancies that subsequently develop pre-eclampsia. METHODS: The maternal serum PAPP-A, free beta-hCG, activin A and inhibin A concentrations at 22 + 0 to 24 + 6 weeks' gestation were measured in samples obtained from women with singleton pregnancies who participated in a screening study for pre-eclampsia by transvaginal color flow Doppler measurement of the uterine artery pulsatility index (PI). A search was made of the database to identify those who subsequently developed pre-eclampsia (n = 24) and a group of controls with normal outcome (n = 144). Regression analysis was performed to establish any relationship between the biochemical markers themselves and between the biochemical markers and uterine artery mean PI. A multivariate Gaussian model combining various biochemical markers with uterine artery mean PI was developed using standard statistical modeling techniques and the performance of such models in discriminating cases with pre-eclampsia was evaluated by receiver-operating characteristics curve (ROC) analysis. RESULTS: In the pre-eclampsia group, compared to the controls, the uterine artery mean PI and the maternal serum levels of PAPP-A, free beta-hCG, activin A and inhibin A were significantly increased. The predicted detection rates of pre-eclampsia, for a false positive rate of 5%, was 50% by uterine artery mean PI, 5% by PAPP-A, 10% by free beta-hCG, 35% by inhibin A and 44% by activin A. Screening by a combination of uterine artery mean PI and maternal serum activin A and inhibin A could detect 75% and 92% of patients who subsequently developed pre-eclampsia, for false positive rates of 5% and 10%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Screening for pre-eclampsia by uterine artery PI at 22 + 0 to 24 + 6 weeks' gestation can be improved by measurement of activin A and inhibin A levels.

Original publication




Journal article


Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date





658 - 663


Activins, Arteries, Biomarkers, Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human, Epidemiologic Methods, False Positive Reactions, Female, Humans, Inhibins, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Proteins, Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A, Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color, Ultrasonography, Prenatal, Uterus