Diagnostic markers for hyperemesis gravidarum: A systematic review and metaanalysis

Maartje N. Niemeijer, Iris J. Grooten, Nikki Vos, Joke M.J. Bais, Joris A. Van Der Post, Ben W. Mol, Tessa J. Roseboom, Mariska M.G. Leeflang, Rebecca C. Painter

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108 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Currently, there is no consensus on the definition of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG; protracted vomiting in pregnancy) and no single widely used set of diagnostic criteria for HG. The various definitions rely on symptoms, sometimes in combination with laboratory tests. Through a systematic review, we aimed to summarize available evidence on the diagnostic value of biomarkers for HG. This could assist diagnosis and may shed light on the, as yet, not understood cause of the disorder. Study Design We searched Medline and Embase for articles about diagnostic biomarkers for either the presence or severity of HG or nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. We defined HG as any combination of nausea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, or hospitalization for nausea and/or vomiting in pregnancy, in the absence of any other obvious cause for these complaints. Results We found 81 articles on 9 biomarkers. Although 65% of all studies included only HG cases with ketonuria, we did not find an association between ketonuria and presence or severity of HG in 5 studies reporting on this association. Metaanalysis, with the use of the hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristics model, yielded an odds ratio of 3.2 (95% confidence interval, 2.0-5.1) of Heliobacter pylori for HG, as compared with asymptomatic control subjects (sensitivity, 73%; specificity, 55%). Studies on human chorionic gonadotropin and thyroid hormones, leptin, estradiol, progesterone, and white blood count showed inconsistent associations with HG; lymphocytes tended to be higher in women with HG. Conclusion We did not find support for the use of ketonuria in the diagnosis of HG. H pylori serology might be useful in specific patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150.e1-150.e15
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarker
  • diagnosis
  • hyperemesis gravidarum
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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