Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnesium Sulphate Halves Risk Of Eclampsia And Can Save Lives Of Pregnant Women

31.05.2002


Giving magnesium sulphate injections to pregnant women with pre-eclampsia halves the risk of eclampsia developing and can save their lives. This is the conclusion of a major international clinical trial funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and published in this week’s The Lancet.



The three-year £2.5 million study, the ‘Magpie’* Trial, was conducted in 33 countries spanning the UK and much of the developing world where eclampsia is the most common cause of death for pregnant women. The trial involved over 10,000 women.

All of the women were suffering from pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, commonly known as toxaemia) which can lead to eclampsia (convulsions) which threatens both the mother’s and the baby’s lives.


In addition to normal medical care, half the women in the trial were randomly assigned to receive an injection of magnesium sulphate, an anticonvulsant drug. The other half was allocated a placebo treatment.

Women allocated magnesium sulphate had a 58% lower risk of eclampsia than those allocated the placebo. Although the treatment did not affect whether or not the baby died, there was evidence that it can reduce the risk of the mother dying. A quarter of women reported minor side effects but there was no evidence of harmful effects to either the mother or baby.

Dr Lelia Duley, an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Obstetric Epidemiologist in the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, led the research.

She said: “Eclampsia is a devastating condition that can kill both mother and child. Our trial has shown that giving magnesium sulphate injections halves the risk of developing eclampsia for women who already have pre-eclampsia, and it seems likely it also reduces the risk of maternal death. The treatment could save countless lives across the world if it was introduced routinely for pregnant women with pre-eclampsia. And, importantly, it is a very inexpensive treatment, making it especially suitable for use in low income countries.”

Professor Jim Neilson, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Liverpool, was one of the clinicians who worked on the trial. He said: “Anticonvulsant drugs have been given to some women with pre-eclampsia for several years but this is the first time that we’ve shown clear benefits for magnesium sulphate treatment through a major research study. These exciting results should now change routine clinical practice across the UK and the world.”

Claire Giles, a woman who suffered pre-eclampsia during her first pregnancy and who took part in the trial, said: “I was really pleased to be part of such an important trial. I developed swelling at 32 weeks which grew progressively more severe until I was finally diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and admitted to hospital at 38 weeks. My baby was delivered by caesarean section and thankfully we both made a complete recovery. Pre-eclampsia is a frightening condition and I really hope that the results of the trial will benefit women like me.”

One in ten pregnant women world-wide suffers from pre-eclampsia, often in their first pregnancy. Currently the only definitive treatment is to deliver the baby early. Once the baby is born the mother’s blood pressure usually returns to normal although the baby will often require intensive medical care due to being born prematurely.

Women seeking further information about pre-eclampsia and eclampsia can call the Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC) Helpline on 020 8427 4217 (weekdays 10am - 1pm).

The research was funded mainly by the Medical Research Council with support from the Department for International Development, the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction and the European Commission, DG Research, INCO Programme.

Press Office | alphagalileo

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists discover the basics of how pressure-sensing Piezo proteins work
22.08.2019 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Protein-transport discovery may help define new strategies for treating eye disease
22.08.2019 | Scripps Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making small intestine endoscopy faster with a pill-sized high-tech camera

23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering

More reliable operation offshore wind farms

23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tracing the evolution of vision

23.08.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>