Pre-eclampsia is a complication characterised by high blood pressure.
“Our findings that women with prior acute kidney injury were at hightened risk including preeclampsia are important because all of them had recovered before conceiving,” said Jessica Sheehan Tangren from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
“They would not necessarily have been identified as high risk cases,” Tangren added, given the normal results on the standard test for kidney function.
The glomerular filtration rate for such women were normal and yet they developed pre-eclampsia and even showed higher chances of delivering with C-sections.
In addition, to greater likelihood of being born early, their babies were more likely to be small for their gestational age and even required paediatric intensive care treatment.
They were at a 2.4 times greater risk of any adverse foetal outcome and a 5.9 times greater risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
While the reason behind this was unclear, it’s possible, the researchers said that changes known to take place in small blood vessels within the kidneys during recovery post-injury compromised the organ’s ability to cope with demands during pregnancy.
“We know that kidneys undergo major changes during pregnancy, and that sort of ‘renal stress test’ may reveal previously undetected kidney disease in women with a history of acute kidney injury,” Tangren noted.
The findings were published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.