• first-trimester screening;
  • placental growth factor;
  • pre-eclampsia;
  • uterine artery Doppler



To investigate the potential value of maternal serum placental growth factor (PlGF) in first-trimester screening for pre-eclampsia (PE).


The concentration of PlGF at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks' gestation was measured in samples from 127 pregnancies that developed PE, including 29 that required delivery before 34 weeks (early PE) and 98 with late PE, 88 cases of gestational hypertension (GH) and 609 normal controls. The distributions of PlGF multiples of the median (MoM) in the control and hypertensive groups were compared. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the factors with a significant contribution for predicting PE.


In the control group significant independent contributions for log PlGF were provided by fetal crown–rump length, maternal weight, cigarette smoking and racial origin, and after correction for these variables the median MoM PlGF was 0.991. In the early-PE and late-PE groups PlGF (0.611 MoM and 0.822 MoM, respectively; P < 0.0001) and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) (0.535 MoM; P < 0.0001 and 0.929 MoM; P = 0.015, respectively) were reduced but in GH (PlGF: 0.966 MoM; PAPP-A: 0.895 MoM) there were no significant differences from controls. Significant contributions for the prediction of PE were provided by maternal characteristics and obstetric history, serum PlGF and uterine artery pulsatility index (PI) and with combined screening the detection rates for early PE and late PE were 90% and 49%, respectively, for a false-positive rate of 10%.


Effective screening for PE can be provided by a combination of maternal characteristics and obstetric history, uterine artery PI and maternal serum PlGF at 11 + 0 to 13 + 6 weeks' gestation. Copyright © 2008 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.