A NEW test for a potentially dangerous side-effect of pregnancy is being rolled out across the UK after a successful trial in Oxford.

The examination, which can predict with almost 100 per cent accuracy if a woman will not develop pre-eclampsia within the next seven days, was tested at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington.

Now it is being fast-tracked for use across the NHS, sparing thousands of women nationwide a stressful hospital admission.

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Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy.

Symptoms can include high blood pressure, swelling of the feet, severe headaches and vision problems.

Although normally mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if not monitored and treated.

The new prediction method was successfully trialled by researchers at the JR Women’s Centre.

The blood test, developed by Roche Diagnostics, measures the ratio of two placental factors – maternal serum soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt-1) and placental growth factor (PlGF) – that are released into the mother's blood during pregnancy.

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Without the test, there is no accurate method to determine who will not get the disease.

Currently, any patients with suspected PE are often admitted to hospital, sometimes for several days in order to make the diagnosis.

Dr Sofia Cerdeira, a member of the research team, said: “This test has improved our ability to make the right decision on admission. Using the test, no one with pre-eclampsia within one week has been missed, so understandably, it has been welcomed enthusiastically by midwives and clinicians working here at the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Women’s Centre."