Open Access Study protocol

Tests for predicting complications of pre-eclampsia: A protocol for systematic reviews

Shakila Thangaratinam1*, Arri Coomarasamy2, Steve Sharp3, Fidelma O'Mahony4, Shaughn O'Brien4, Khaled MK Ismail4 and Khalid S Khan1

Author Affiliations

1 Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK

2 Assisted Conception Unit, Guy's and St Thomas Hospital, London, UK

3 NLH Specialist Library for ENT and Audiology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

4 Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Keele University School of Medicine, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, UK

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, 8:38  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-38

Published: 11 August 2008



Pre-eclampsia is associated with several complications. Early prediction of complications and timely management is needed for clinical care of these patients to avert fetal and maternal mortality and morbidity. There is a need to identify best testing strategies in pre eclampsia to identify the women at increased risk of complications. We aim to determine the accuracy of various tests to predict complications of pre-eclampsia by systematic quantitative reviews.


We performed extensive search in MEDLINE (1951–2004), EMBASE (1974–2004) and also will also include manual searches of bibliographies of primary and review articles. An initial search has revealed 19500 citations. Two reviewers will independently select studies and extract data on study characteristics, quality and accuracy. Accuracy data will be used to construct 2 × 2 tables. Data synthesis will involve assessment for heterogeneity and appropriately pooling of results to produce summary Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curve and summary likelihood ratios.


This review will generate predictive information and integrate that with therapeutic effectiveness to determine the absolute benefit and harm of available therapy in reducing complications in women with pre-eclampsia.