Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health, say that they’ve found a link between low circulating placental growth factor (PIGF) levels in high-risk pregnant women and adverse pregnancy outcomes, comprising two conditions that require preterm delivery: severe preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), fetal growth restriction and unavoidable stillbirth due to major placental pathologies.

In a recent study, the research team evaluated 979 pregnancies considered high-risk for serious maternal or fetal complications associated with abnormal placental function following commencement of real-time PlGF testing.

Photo of Dr. Kelsey McLaughlin

Dr. Kesley McLaughlin

“Our analysis determined that low PlGF levels in high-risk pregnant women are strongly associated with increased rates of imminent preterm delivery and increased risk of early-onset preeclampsia and unavoidable stillbirth,” says Dr. Kelsey McLaughlin, lead author and Clinical Research Associate at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. This research was supported by a new collaboration between the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Information Services at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. McLaughlin says she believes this publication supports the widespread integration of diagnostic PlGF testing into the clinical care of high-risk pregnancies across Canada in the 20-36 week window,  “This simple blood test is a powerful tool for clinical decision-making in high-risk pregnant patients. Increasing availability of PlGF testing in our more remote communities may reduce the need for long-distance travel to high-risk pregnancy centres for assessment or the need for return visits in person.”

“In March 2017, Mount Sinai was the first hospital in North America to institute real-time same day maternal blood testing for PlGF into the clinical care of high-risk pregnancies,” says Dr. John Kingdom, Maternal Fetal-Medicine Specialist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Kingdom led the initiative and is the senior author of the study. “The results are dramatic, and we anticipate that they will revise clinical practice guidelines to recommend PIGF testing.”