The feasibility and acceptability of self-testing for proteinuria during pregnancy: A mixed methods approach
Tucker KL., Bowen L., Crawford C., Mallon P., Hinton L., Lee MM., Oke J., Taylor KS., Heneghan C., Bankhead C., Mackillop L., James T., Oakeshott P., Chappell LC., McManus RJ.
© 2017 The Authors. Objective: To investigate feasibility and acceptability of self-testing for proteinuria during pregnancy. Study design: Mixed methods approach which included: an accuracy study where pregnant women (n = 100) and healthcare professionals (n = 96) tested seven synthetic protein samples and completed a questionnaire, a feasibility study where pregnant women who were self-monitoring their blood pressure were asked to self-test for proteinuria (n = 30), and an online questionnaire about women's experiences of self-testing (n = 200). Main outcome measures: Sensitivity and specificity of testing and questionnaire results. Results: There were no significant differences in the accuracy of synthetic sample testing by pregnant women (sensitivity 0.81 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.78-0.85), specificity 0.93 (95% CI 0.91-0.95)) and healthcare professionals: (sensitivity 0.83 (95% CI 0.79-0.86), specificity 0.92 (95% CI 0.90-0.94)). Automated readers had significantly better sensitivity (0.94 (0.91-0.97) (p ≤ .001 in each case), but worse specificity 0.78 (0.69-0.85). Similar results were gained using self-tested urine samples compared to staff-testing using a reference standard of laboratory urine protein-creatinine ratio (uPCR). Women who completed the online survey with experience of self-testing (n = 39, 20%) generally found it easy, and with support from healthcare professionals felt it improved involvement in their care and reduced anxiety. Conclusions: Self-testing for proteinuria by pregnant women had similar accuracy to healthcare professional testing and was acceptable to both groups. Self-testing of urine combined with self-monitoring of blood pressure could provide a useful adjunct to clinic-based surveillance for the detection of pre-eclampsia. Such novel strategies warrant further research.