As one of the events of the university's 250th anniversary program series, the Faculty of Health Sciences organised the 4th Comparative Health Sciences Symposium on “Preeclampsia: from molecules to maternal care”, on 15 November 2019.
The scientific symposium was opened by Prof Dr Zoltán Zsolt NAGY, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Patron of the Symposium, and by Gabriella DÖRNYEI PhD, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs. The Dean emphasised the actuality and importance of the topic of the symposium, highlighting that preeclampsia has become a significant problem in prenatal care, as preeclampsia is the leading cause of perinatal maternal morbidity and mortality.
Preeclampsia is diagnosed when high systemic blood pressure and proteinuria are present after the 20th week of pregnancy. The most severe form of preeclampsia is the HELLP syndrome. Aetiology and pathogenesis of the condition is still not completely understood despite of extensive and intensive research carried out in the topic. The eight presentations of the Symposium provided detailed insight into this intensive research and the latest results from molecular studies to maternal care.
It was a special honour to have Professor Joey P. GRANGER, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as a presenter at the Symposium. The Professor presented a comprehensive overview on the pathophysiology of preeclampsia and introduced the potential mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Prof Granger and his colleagues investigate the genetic, immunological, and maternal/environmental factors activated by placental ischaemia. Such factors are, for instance, antiangiogenic factors and other inflammatory mediators, which getting into systemic circulation cause pathological degenerations in the organs and hypertension. These investigations provide relevant findings that broaden our knowledge of the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
Introducing the next part of the programme, Prof Dr László ROSIVALL, professor emeritus of the Institute of Translational Medicine, Semmelweis University, remembered Ignác Semmelweis, the achievements and life lessons of the world-renowned Hungarian physician, “who defeated the disease, yet unaccepted he deceased”. For the 200th anniversary of the birth of Semmelweis, the Semmelweis Memorial Committee erected 20 bronze statues in 15 countries, on four continents.
Afterwards, presentations on the latest research results about the pathogenesis of preeclampsia and the challenges of prevention and treatment followed.
Prof Dr János RIGÓ, professor of the Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Semmelweis University and the Head of the Department of Clinical Studies in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, stressed the importance of prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of preeclampsia. Furthermore, he added that although in the last years maternal mortality has drastically decreased in developed countries, neonatal care of the infants born preterm due to preeclampsia poses great challenges to obstetric units. The latest therapies found effective in the progression of the disease are still in an experimental phase, but it can be clearly seen that the core of the therapy is the close monitoring of both the fetus and the mother and the determination of an optimal date for delivery.
In line with this, Márta HIDVÉGI MIHÁLYNÉ, master teacher at the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, underlined how vital it is that the healthcare professionals have proper knowledge on maternal and fetal complications, because prompt and early detection, effective treatment, and precise, high quality care all improve the progression of this severe condition.
Prof Dr Zoltán Zsolt NAGY, Director of the Department of Ophthalmology, Semmelweis University and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, talked about the ophthalmic complications of pregnancy-related toxaemia, the most common ones being blurred vision, photopsy, inability to focus on objects, visual field defects, and in the most severe cases blindness. A large number of preeclampsia/eclampsia patients are affected by some complications, which draws attention to the importance of early detection and professional help needed to save not only the lives of both mother and new-born, but also the mother's sight.
Prof Dr Ákos KOLLER, Department of Morphology and Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University and University of Physical Education, discussed the effects of preeclampsia on cerebrovascular autoregulation, i.e. the vascular and molecular mechanisms of the condition. He highlighted that irrespective of the cause of pregnancy-related hypertension, high systemic blood pressure puts extra load on cerebral autoregulation, however, investigations of this issue and the protective mechanisms of maternal cerebral circulation are still being carried out. These studies show that protecting cerebral circulation in preeclampsia can help to prevent secondary brain defects.
Dr Attila MOLVAREC, associate professor at the Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Semmelweis University, presented an overview of the immunological processes responsible for the development of preeclampsia. With respect to pathogenesis, tow sub-types can be described: placental and maternal preeclampsia, which are caused by placental perfusion disorders and underlying maternal conditions (e.g., chronic hypertension, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases), respectively.
Dr Ildikó BAJI, Head of the Department of Applied Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, emphasised that adequate screening of mental problems in the perinatal period is highly important. Their longitudinal study found that mental problems in pregnancy increase the risk of pregnancy-related hypertension and preeclampsia and have both short-term and long-term negative impact on the mother, on the mother-child relationship, and the child's cognitive and emotional development.
Given the great success of the Symposium, the series is to be continued again in the next year, providing an outstanding platform for professional discourse among clinicians and researchers in health sciences.
Organisers of the symposium were Prof Dr Zoltán Zsolt NAGY, Dean of the Faculty and Patron of the Symposium, Gabriella DÖRNYEI PhD, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, Prof Dr Ákos KOLLER, university professor, Prof Dr Csaba NYAKAS, professor emeritus, and Prof Dr János RIGÓ, university professor, Head of the Department of Clinical Studies in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Faculty of Health Sciences.