The hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) complicate 5-10% of pregnancies and lead to serious maternal illness or death. The HDP include the conditions of pre-eclampsia, pre-existing hypertension and gestational hypertension. Pre-eclampsia is the most serious of these disorders and worldwide is the second leading cause of maternal death, and results in 60,000-80,000 maternal deaths each year. Over 99% of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The WHO estimates that more than 500,000 fetuses and newborns die annually due to pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can be treated with anti-hypertensive agents (to relieve high blood pressure) and magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) to prevent and treat eclampsia (seizures), but the only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the placenta and infant. Pre-eclampsia-related maternal deaths result primarily from delays in diagnosis, triage, transport, and treatment, resulting in intracerebral haemorrhage (stroke) related to high blood pressure and eclampsia (seizures).
The theme of PRE-EMPT is to develop, test and introduce new knowledge that will reduce the unacceptable maternal, perinatal, family, societal, and global impacts of pre-eclampsia, and the other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The University of British Columbia and King's College London with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation leads the PRE-EMPT (PRE-eclampsia & Eclampsia Monitoring, Prevention & Treatment) initiative (PI: Peter von Dadelszen).
The PRE-EMPT initiative consists of five inter-related objectives to be conducted over a seven year period (Nov 2010 – June 2018).
- Objective 1: Prevention
- Objective 2: Monitoring
- Objective 3: Treatment
- Objective 4: Global Pregnancy Collaboration
- Objective 5: Knowledge Translation