Dr. Manel Mendoza has won the 'Emerging Investigator 2023' award by the International Aspirin Foundation

Research led by the doctor has stopped unnecessary medicalisation with aspirin during pregnancy.

28/11/2023

Dr. Manel Mendoza, head of the Placental Insufficiency Unit within the Specialised Obstetrics Unit at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, and researcher of the Maternal and Fetal Medicine research group at Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), has received the Emerging Researcher Award given annually by the International Aspirin Foundation.

The Foundation highlighted Dr Mendoza's participation as principal investigator in the clinical trial that demonstrated the efficacy of the sFIt-1/PIGF indicator in detecting the false positives in the preeclampsia screening and, therefore, stopping their treatment.

Preeclampsia is a serious multisystem disorder that affects between 2% and 4% of pregnancies. For years, a first trimester screening has been carried out in Catalonia, where 10-15% of all pregnant women are considered to be at high risk of preeclampsia and are recommended to take aspirin every day until the end of pregnancy. Due to the severity of the condition, the relative safety of aspirin and the need to start prevention before 16 weeks, despite the large number of false positives, it is considered better to offer treatment to all high-risk patients rather than risk not medicating pregnancies that could develop the condition.

Thanks to Dr Mendoza's research, with a simple blood test between 24 and 28 weeks, false-positive screening can be identified,  about 90% of patients on preventive treatment, and these pregnant women can stop taking daily aspirin. This test does not give reliable results until the second trimester, and between tests, pregnant women are advised to undergo treatment, as the benefits outweigh the risks.

Dr Andrew Chan, head of the Foundation's scientific advisory board, highlighted the importance of research that "prevents preeclampsia and reduces the risk of haemorrhage". He added that the use of aspirin in these cases is a perfect example "of a low-cost intervention that has a huge positive impact on public health".

Dr Mendoza expressed his gratitude for the award and hoped it is the first step towards "a more physiological and less medicalised approach to pregnancy".

Dr Mendoza hopes it is the first step towards "a more physiological and less medicalised approach to pregnancy".

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