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The Health Ministry is to investigate the tragic death of a 36-year-old woman two days after she gave birth prematurely to twin girls at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya.
The death comes less than two weeks after a 37-year-old Jerusalem woman died the day after delivering her twin boys at Hadassah University Medical Center.
Three days ago, Irena Yehonovich arrived at the Nahariya hospital during her 31st week of pregnancy complaining of vomiting and headaches.
A urine test showed she suffered from pre-eclampsia, a condition whose signs include sudden high blood pressure and edema during pregnancy and high levels of protein in the urine. She underwent a cesarean section, and the babies were born in good condition.
If not diagnosed early and treated, pre-eclampsia causes damage to the cardiovascular system, the kidneys and the liver and finally to the brain.
After a scan showed she had a brain hemorrhage, she was rushed to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for treatment, as the Western Galilee Hospital does not perform neurosurgery. But she arrived in severe condition and died on Thursday.
Pre-eclampsia, which is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can hint at other problems, can develop into eclampsia, a potentially fatal condition. Pre-eclampsia occurs in 5,000 pregnant women (out of more than 130,000) a year and can endanger both the mother and the fetus.
A report in a recent issue of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Israeli researchers, headed by Prof. Ron Gonen of Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa, showed that pre-eclampsia could be detected early by measuring the amount of PP13 protein in the mother's blood. Over 1,200 women were tested around the country, with blood samples taken as early as the sixth to tenth weeks and again around the 17th and 26th weeks.
A test produced by the Diagnostic Technologies company in Yokneam succeeded in identifying in the second month of pregnancy whether women were likely to develop pre-eclampsia later on. The start-up company is already negotiating with the health funds for supplying the test to all pregnant women.