Author(s): Geralyn M LambertMesserlian
The cause of preeclampsia remains unknown. The disease manifests itself across a broad clinical spectrum from mild to severe, conferring vastly different morbidities and suggesting possibly different disease processes. Oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, maternal-fetal immune incompatibility, and abnormal placental implantation are among the suggested causes. The need for a marker or set of markers that allow for definitive diagnosis and assessment of future risk of preeclampsia is tremendous. Ultrasound techniques and several markers have been identified that are increased among patients with preeclampsia, but no test is highly sensitive. In the future, a combination of markers likely will be used to assess risk and, establish the diagnosis, and test treatment strategies. Such an approach would allow for more refined treatment studies of patients who are at highest risk for preeclampsia.