By: 28 July 2022
Testing to help diagnose pre-eclampsia recommended by NICE

New NICE guidance recommends PIGF-based testing to rule in or rule out the short-term development of pre-eclampsia[1]

Roche Diagnostics UK & Ireland recently welcomed NICE’s new guidance recommending routine use of placental growth factor (PlGF) based testing in the NHS in England and Wales to help diagnose suspected pre-eclampsia.[2]

In cases of pre-eclampsia, abnormal levels of PlGF and sFlt-1 in the blood indicate that the placenta is not growing or functioning as it should.[3] The latest NICE guidance recommends four PlGF-based tests, including Roche Diagnostics’ Elecsys immunoassay sFlt-1/PlGF, to aid in the short-term prediction of pre-eclampsia, when used in conjunction with other diagnostic and clinical information.2 Previously, PlGF-based tests were only recommended to rule out pre-eclampsia, however, the latest NICE guidance supports their use to also rule-in pre-eclampsia. The ability to predict which women are likely to develop pre-eclampsia in the coming weeks will help clinicians to decide on the most appropriate care and level of monitoring, and the need for hospitalisation.[4]

Pre-eclampsia is a condition affecting up to one in ten pregnancies,1 and can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if not monitored and treated.Early signs can include high blood pressure and protein in urine, with symptoms including severe headache, vision problems, pain just below the ribs, nausea or vomiting, or sudden swelling of the hands, feet or face.1

Geoff Twist, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics UK & Ireland said: “The importance of knowing you or your loved one is receiving the right care during pregnancy cannot be overstated. Pre-eclampsia can be a devastating condition but we also know it needn’t be if it is diagnosed and treated early.

“We hope that NICE’s recommendations of routine testing for pre-eclampsia across the NHS in England and Wales will bring many positive benefits including greater confidence to clinicians in diagnosing and treating this potentially life-threatening condition; much needed clarity for expectant parents; and a reduction in unnecessary hospital admissions.

“These benefits should be available to all expectant parents, regardless of where they live, which is why it is important that all UK nations adopt these new recommendations and provide the same level of access to pre-eclampsia testing.”

Marcus Green, Chief Executive Officer of Action on Pre-eclampsia said: “Pregnancy can be both a joyous and anxious time, and improving early diagnosis of pre-eclampsia is essential so that mothers and babies can get the care they need. We’re pleased to see this vital new NICE guidance which we hope will have a significant impact on expectant families in England and Wales both by giving them and their clinicians reassurance, or escalating care when needed. But it can’t stop there – there is a postcode lottery that means some trusts are yet to take this up, and nationally implementation is patchy. This has to end.”

Professor Jenny Myers, Clinical Professor at Manchester Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre said: “This sends a clear message that PlGF-based testing for pre-eclampsia should be available in every hospital in England and Wales, helping to remove health inequalities between regions. We now have the evidence to show that PlGF-based testing can help rule in pre-eclampsia, as well as rule it out. 

“As clinicians, this will help ensure those with pre-eclampsia are on the right surveillance path, and those without pre-eclampsia can safely go home. I see it making a huge difference to patients and clinicians every day in my NHS Trust, and I’d like to see every maternity unit in the UK have access to PlGF-based testing and the benefits it can bring.”



  1. Action on Pre-eclampsia. Q&A. Available at: Last accessed: July 2022
  2. NICE. PLGF-based testing to help diagnose suspected preterm pre-eclampsia (update of DG23) Available at: Last accessed: July 2022
  3. NICE. PlGF-based testing to help diagnose suspected pre-eclampsia. May 2016. Available at:,there%20may%20be%20placental%20dysfunction Last accessed: July 2022
  4. NICE. AAC Rapid Uptake Products. Available at: Last accessed: July 2022