AtCor Medical Limited announced that a new study which used the company’s SphygmoCor system to measure central blood pressure and arterial stiffness non-invasively has shown important drug effects in pregnant women with pre-eclampsia that could not be detected with standard blood pressure monitoring. Pre-eclampsia, which occurs in 3-5% of pregnancies, is responsible for hundreds of thousands of maternal and fetal deaths annually, and for lifelong health care problems resulting from preterm deliveries. The published study has shown that the 160-patient study examined the effects of treatment on pregnant women with hypertensive disorders. It showed central blood pressure and arterial stiffness was significantly reduced by anti-hypertensive treatment with alpha methyldopa, a centrally acting hypertension medication marketed under brand names such as Aldomet and Dopamet. Two central blood pressure parameters that reflect the level of arterial stiffness - augmentation pressure and augmentation index - were significantly higher in patients with pre-eclampsia than in pregnant patients who did not experience pre-eclampsia. The findings are especially significant because of research published by the same team at University of London, a study that also used SphygmoCor. The earlier study published showed that elevated central blood pressure predicted 70% of all cases of pre-eclampsia and 88% of early onset pre-eclampsia, which occurs before 34 weeks of gestation. The two studies point to a potential for SphygmoCor to play an important role in diagnosis, drug selection and drug therapy management for patients with pre-eclampsia and reinforce existing clinical and drug development applications. “Studies in non-pregnant women have found differential effects of anti-hypertensive drugs on central hemodynamics, despite similar effects on peripheral blood pressures measurements,” the latest study stated. “Our findings suggest that pulse wave analysis may also have a major role to play in the assessment of new and existing medications used in pregnancy so that central, as well as peripheral, effects can be determined,” the authors concluded. Duncan Ross, AtCor Medical President and CEO, said “We are very excited about the contribution our technology may make in the diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia, Studies have shown similar diagnostic and drug therapy management benefits in other forms of cardiovascular disease, but pre-eclampsia is a uniquely compelling application. Onset occurs before symptoms, severe health care consequences can occur within weeks, and two lives may be in the balance. With early warning and effective intervention there is hope that these terrible consequences could be prevented.”