Life-saving blood test for pregnant women to be rolled out across NHS in England

ITV News Reporter Martha Fairlie on the pioneering blood test which can help pregnant women detect a potential deadly disease

A mother has told ITV News of how she and her unborn son almost died from a potentially fatal disease which usually occurs in pregnancy.

In 2015, Carolanne McFadyen and her unborn son Luke almost died when she was developed pre-eclampsia.

"I got into the ambulance and he'd actually said this was the highest blood pressure he'd actually seen even in heart or stroke victims.

"It was 244 over 128 or there around and at that point it was an emergency situation so I was whisked off to be administrated magnesium and straight to the hospital to have an Caesarean section at that point."

With no tests available, doctors has not realised she was critically ill.

Now the NHS in England has announced there will be a quick blood test available which can determine or rule out the potentially fatal disease in pregnant women.

Carolanne McFadyen says the medical team in the ambulance said her blood pressure was incredibly high - higher than heart or stroke victims

It is hoped the same-day result will reassure thousands of pregnant women every year, and avoid the need for hospital stays.

The testing – known as placental growth factor (PLGF) testing – is the first of its kind in the world to rule out pre-eclampsia and is already being used in three quarters of maternity units in England.

Pre-eclampsia, which usually occurs later in pregnancy, can be life-threatening for both pregnant women and their babies.

Early symptoms include high blood pressure and a certain protein in the mother’s urine.

Currently 65,000 expectant mothers a year are admitted to hospital for up to three days to be monitored for the condition, NHS England said.

Credit: PA

The testing will be available across all of England within the next two years, the organisation added.

NHS clinical director for maternity and women’s health Matthew Jolly said: “This new way of testing means we can rule out the condition in a much quicker and easier way – it removes the stress that comes with the uncertainty around not having a diagnosis and will reassure thousands of pregnant women every year.”

NHS director of innovation, research and life sciences Matt Whitty said: “This test is quick and easy and can rule out a condition that has for a long time been the cause of such stress to tens of thousands of pregnant women every year, whether they have pre-eclampsia or not.

“This latest innovation will benefit thousands of patients who have until now been put through extensive testing and possible hospital stays.”