24/07/2023 | Press releases

Parents-to-be with high blood pressure are being offered the chance to take part in a research study

Parents-to-be are being invited to join a research trial at Ipswich Hospital looking at treatment options for high blood pressure during pregnancy.

The team at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is part of a national trial called Giant PANDA. The trial is looking into treatment options for parents-to-be who have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as hypertension, in pregnancy can make women and their babies unwell. Treating the condition with blood pressure lowering medicines in pregnancy is important.

The Giant PANDA trial is comparing two commonly used medicine to see which works best.

close up of person's arm with blood pressure cuff

Alison Swift is the lead clinical research midwife for the study at Ipswich Hospital.

She said: “There are two medicines routinely used during pregnancy for someone who has high blood pressure – nifedipine and labetalol. What the study is trying to establish is whether one is more effective in controlling blood pressure.”

The study is looking for individuals expecting a baby with high blood pressure requiring treatment with medicine.

Lead clinical research midwife Ali Swift

Ali added: “Anyone choosing to join the study will be prescribed either labetalol or nifedipine and continue their routine antenatal care under the guidance of a consultant. If at any point in the pregnancy the medicine does not work for them, the doctor may advise them to change the dose or the medicine itself.

“Depending on how their blood pressure is controlled during pregnancy, most will stay on the medicine throughout and some will remain on it after they have given birth.”

The study also includes collecting participants’ experience of taking medicine by completing a short survey, via email, two weeks after they are recruited and then every four weeks throughout their pregnancy.

Ali said: “As with anyone who has high blood pressure in pregnancy, the consultant will tailor their care and blood pressure monitoring throughout their pregnancy. Their own GP will be informed of the medicine they are on and asked to prescribe subsequent prescriptions.”

For those recruited to the Giant PANDA study there is also the opportunity to join an additional study called Baby PANDA. This study is offering the participants the option of gaining more information on how their blood pressure varies over the day by wearing a portable blood pressure monitor which records the blood pressure every 30 minutes.

There is a simple medicine diary to complete whilst wearing the monitor. Alongside this there is also an option to give blood and urine samples.

If you would like to hear more about the study, then please contact Ipswich hospital on 01473 712233, extension 5155 or ask to be put through to the research department.

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