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Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, and Low Platelets (HELLP Syndrome)

Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets is a group of symptoms which is known as HELLP Syndrome.

What is HELLP Syndrome?

HELLP syndrome is a serious condition which is a complication of pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). It is related to preeclampsia and toxemia. It usually develops during pregnancy, but can develop after childbirth as well.

Hemolysis is the destruction of red blood cells. Elevated liver enzymes indicate a disorder of the liver and possibly damage to the liver. Low platelets indicate a low number of cells which are required to help blood to clot and work to arrest bleeding.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of HELLP Syndrome?

Not all symptoms need be present:

  • headache
  • nausea/vomiting
  • stomach tenderness and abdominal pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • increased blood pressure
  • swelling
  • protein in the urine
  • visual disturbances
  • bleeding

HELLP syndrome can be life threatening to the mother and baby. Seek treatment immediately.

How is HELLP Syndrome Diagnosed?

HELLP syndrome is diagnosed through physical exams and lab tests, including red blood cell count, liver function tests, platelet counts and urine tests.

What is the Treatment for HELLP Syndrome?

Treatment for HELLP Syndrome depends on the severity of your symptoms. You may be put on bed rest, hospitalized, receive blood pressure regulating medications and other medications.

If you have HELLP Syndrome, your baby may be monitored with a variety of tests to help assess its well-being.

Your blood pressure and lab results will be carefully monitored.

Early diagnosis and treatment of HELLP syndrome is important to preventing some complications of the disease.

If symptoms are worsening, it may endanger the lives of both the mother and the baby. If symptoms are severe, early delivery may be necessary.


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