The dehydroepiandrosterone loading test. III. A possible placental function test.
The dehydroepiandrosterone loading test (DLT) has been used in a small population of normal and high-risk obstetric patients, to date, in an attempt to develop a dynamic test of placental function. In spite of its limited applications, it has shown reliability in discriminating, with statistical significance, between high-risk pregnancies that result in normally grown, undistressed infants, and high-risk pregnancies that result in infants showing signs of placental insufficiency. The present report expands the study population by presenting our data on 40 loading tests performed in 37 high-risk and normal obstetric patients. Results of 19 of these DLT's have been previously reported and are included herein for statistical analysis. The DLT utilizes an excess substrate load of dehydroepiandrosterone to assess the maximum capability of the placenta to convert it to estrogen. Although our previous report did not show false positive or negative results in the conversion rates, the present results (40 DLT's) found two (2 out of 17) false positives (12%) and two (2 out of 19) false negatives (11%). The highly significant correlation between DLT result and pregnancy outcome seen previously was preserved. In addition, the data of another five DLT's in four patients are presented. This group includes a pregnancy with a fetus with multiple congenital malformations, two patients with intrauterine fetal death, and a nonpregnant woman. The results are not included in the statistical analysis, but discussion of these results has interesting pathophysiologic implications.
Pupkin, MJ; Nagey, DA; Schomberg, DW; MacKenna, J; Crenshaw, C
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