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HELLP syndrome

Monday 20 September 2004

Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelets syndrome


HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening obstetric complication usually considered to be a variant or complication of pre-eclampsia.

Both conditions usually occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth. "HELLP" is an abbreviation of the three main features of the syndrome :
- Hemolysis
- Elevated Liver enzymes
- Low Platelet count

HELLP usually begins during the third trimester; rare cases have been reported as early as 21 weeks gestation.

Often, a woman who develops HELLP syndrome has already been followed up for pregnancy-induced hypertension (gestational hypertension), or is suspected to develop pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and proteinuria).

Up to 8% of all cases occur after delivery.