Research Article

Assay of a placental protein to determine fetal risk.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 08 March 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:671
  1. G Hughes,
  2. P Bischof,
  3. G Wilson,
  4. A Klopper


    Plasma concentrations and total amounts of pregnancy associated plasma protein A were determined in 272 patients at 34 weeks' gestation by immunoelectrophoretic assay. The mean plasma concentration and mean total amount of this protein were closely related (r = 0.9643) and were significantly raised in patients who subsequently developed pre-eclampsia (28 patients), went into premature labour (12), or suffered from antepartum haemorrhage (10). Mean values in all patients delivering growth-retarded babies were also raised, but when the results for such patients who also had other complications were excluded there were no differences between the sets of means. The assays were easily performed, and they may be a useful technique for screening pregnant women to detect those at risk of developing pre-eclamptic toxaemia, although the full potential of these assays cannot be realised until the protein's function is known.