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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 953150, 8 pages
Review Article

Preeclampsia Is a Biomarker for Vascular Disease in Both Mother and Child: The Need for a Medical Alert System

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
2Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology, The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
3Division of Neurology, The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
4Neuroscience Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1Y 4E9
5Canadian Stroke Network, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1G 5Z3
6Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Ottawa, 2413-451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5

Received 6 February 2013; Accepted 28 March 2013

Academic Editor: Praveen Kumar

Copyright © 2013 Julie Hakim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper reviews the literature pertaining to the impact of preeclampsia not only on the mother but particularly on the children. The review points to the higher blood pressure in children born to preeclamptic mothers compared to controls, their increased tendency to suffer strokes, the reduction in their cognitive ability, and their vulnerability to depression. Mechanisms that may induce these changes are emphasized, particularly the placental vascular insufficiency and the resulting hypoxic and proinflammatory environments in which the fetus develops. The hypothesis proposed is that these changes in the fetal-placental environment result in epigenetic programming of the child towards a higher propensity for vascular disease. The review’s main recommendation is that, within ethical boundaries, the medical records of individuals born to preeclamptic mothers should clearly indicate this event and should be made available to the affected individuals so that preventive measures against vascular complications and lifestyle changes that may mitigate the latter can be instituted.