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The PlGF (placental growth factor) has been largely demonstrated to be associated with the diagnosis of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs); however, it is unclear how useful it is for the prognosis of the condition. Our objective was to provide a summary of important findings of its prognostic ability by systematically reviewing studies that examined the ability of the PlGF, either independently or combined with other factors, to predict maternal and fetal complications resulting from the HDPs. We included studies published before January 30, 2017, reporting on the use of the PlGF as a prognostic test for women with confirmed HDPs or suspected preeclampsia. Of the 220 abstracts identified through MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), 17 studies were eligible for our review. Prognostic performance was evaluated by sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. PlGF showed moderate-to-high evidence (likelihood ratios of ≥5 or ≤0.2 or area under the receiver operating characteristic curves ≥0.70) for identifying women at the highest risk of preterm delivery or neonatal outcomes (10/12 studies) but showed no clinically useful performance for the prediction of adverse maternal outcomes. PlGF may aid in the management of women with HDPs to avert fetal complications. Future studies should determine an optimum threshold for the marker to guide delivery and should examine whether its use for predicting adverse maternal outcomes in women with HDPs can be improved.

Original publication




Journal article


Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979)

Publication Date





1228 - 1237


From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (U.V.U., J.A.H.), Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics (B.P., J.M.A.), School of Population and Public Health (M.D.H.), and Woodward Library (H.B.), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Healthy Starts Theme, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada (U.V.U., J.A.H., B.P., J.M.A.); Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (M.V.); and School of Life Course Sciences, King's College London, United Kingdom (L.A.M., P.v.D.).


Humans, Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular, Hypertension, Prognosis, Pregnancy Outcome, Pregnancy, Female, Biomarkers, Placenta Growth Factor