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Preeclampsia Foundation Leads Effort to Mobilize Blood Pressure Cuffs to Enable Telehealth Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

May 19, 2020 - Melbourne, FL - The Preeclampsia Foundation is responding to the needs of pregnant and postpartum women, during COVID-19, with the introduction of The Cuff Kit™.  With women’s obstetric care being monitored by telehealth or otherwise impacted by restrictions and access to care, the Foundation is partnering with healthcare leaders and funders to equip women with home blood pressure monitoring devices and educational material.

As many as one in twelve pregnancies is affected by hypertension in its most dangerous form – preeclampsia. The Foundation recommends keeping up with prenatal and postpartum visits that include blood pressure monitoring and a review of the signs and symptoms for preeclampsia.

“With COVID-19, we know some prenatal and postpartum appointments have become virtual, and women are reluctant to physically enter healthcare environments” says Eleni Tsigas, Chief Executive Officer. “We had to do something. Missing dangerously high blood pressure will be disastrous for moms and their unborn babies.”

The Foundation convened funding partners, sourced various manufacturers of validated blood pressure devices, and brought patient partners to the table to produce and launch The Cuff Kit™. For women who own a blood pressure monitor, instructional material is free at www.preeclampsia.org/blood-pressure. There, pregnant and new moms can download blank logs or learn about blood pressure tracking apps, watch video tutorials, and receive other information related to blood pressure and their health.

It started with a collaboration with University of Chicago and quickly grew. The first shipments are headed to Nebraska where there’s been a surge in COVID cases in communities with meat packing plants and to several of our nation’s hot spots such as New York City, New Orleans, select counties in Pennsylvania, and the Navajo nation in southwestern states.

The Foundation’s medical experts agree that telehealth will become more commonplace for certain aspects of prenatal and postpartum care, even beyond the current pandemic.

Home monitoring can mean the difference between life and death for women like Whitney Williams of Lexington, KY, who at 34 weeks pregnant was monitoring her blood pressure at home.

When the reading displayed 140/100, she called her doctor who acted promptly. The next 48 hours were a whirlwind, her liver enzymes reached critical levels, her baby was delivered 6 weeks premature, and she ended up having an emergency hysterectomy.

Though Whitney’s case may sound extreme, preeclampsia is not rare - it strikes without warning typically between 20 weeks gestation and up to six weeks after delivery. Whitney and her baby survived, but had she not been checking her blood pressure and acted upon her reading this story could have had a different ending.

For information about The Cuff Kit™ or to become a funding partner, email [email protected] or call 321-421-6957.

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