HELLP Syndrome

HELLP Syndrome: Recognition and Perinatal Management - Article

ABSTRACT: HELLP, a syndrome characterized by hemolysis, elevated liver enzyme levels and a low platelet count, is an obstetric complication that is frequently misdiagnosed at initial presentation. Many investigators consider the syndrome to be a variant of preeclampsia, but it may be a separate entity. The pathogenesis of HELLP syndrome remains unclear. Early diagnosis is critical because the morbidity and mortality rates associated with the syndrome have been reported to be as high as 25 percent. Platelet count appears to be the most reliable indicator of the presence of HELLP syndrome. The D-dimer test may be a useful tool for the early identification of patients with preeclampsia who may develop severe HELLP syndrome. The mainstay of therapy is supportive management, including seizure prophylaxis and blood pressure control in patients with hypertension. Women remote from term should be considered for conservative management, whereas those at term should be delivered. Some patients require transfusion of blood products, and most benefit from corticosteroid therapy. Rarely, patients with refractory HELLP syndrome require plasmapheresis.

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