Prestigious fellowship awarded to support further research on the impacts of pre-eclampsia

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Research led by Keele University has demonstrated that women who suffered pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are four times more likely to have heart failure in later life.
Posted on 01 September 2017

Honorary Consultant Obstetrician and Keele Lecturer, Dr Pensee Wu, has been selected for a prestigious National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellowship, which will allow her to further study the impact of pre-eclampsia.

5-8% of pregnancies are affected by pre-eclampsia, where expectant mothers suffer with high blood pressure and protein in the mother’s urine. Although many causes are mild, the condition is the most common cause of severe ill-health during pregnancy which can, in extreme circumstances, lead to the death of the mother or baby.

A recent study lead by Dr Pensee Wu revealed that pre-eclampsia can cause severe coronary health implications for the mother in later life, with the risk of heart disease, stroke and death doubling. The research raised awareness that hospital doctors need to offer better advice to women about the increased risks, and the actions they can take to avoid future ill-health.

The Transitional Research Fellowship (TRF) offers Dr Wu funding to support researchers to make a transition from basic or experimental science research to an area of applied health or clinical research within the NIHR’s remit. It is a personal award that allows successful applicants to develop the skills needed to be successful in future applications for NIHR funding applications.

Dr Wu said: “It is a fantastic privilege to have been accepted for this fellowship and I can’t wait to get started. Specifically, my project will involve determining the relationship between pre-eclampsia and future cardiovascular complications and acquiring the research skills to transition from a basic scientist into a clinical epidemiologist in women’s health”.

Dr Wu believes that the improved long-term health of women with pre-eclampsia can lead to the profound long-term benefits for the patient and their children, and hopes the “research will empower women with knowledge of their future cardiovascular risk, which improves their experience”.

Further details of Dr Wu’s previous pre-eclampsia research