by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
HELLP syndrome is a rare and severe preeclampsia that happens during pregnancy or just after delivery. It stands for:
HELLP includes three problems:
The causes of HELLP syndrome are not known.
This problem is more common in White people over the age of 25 years. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Some people may not have symptoms. Others may have:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include a complete blood count and liver function tests.
The only cure is delivery of your baby. Your doctor may try other treatments until you reach 34 weeks of pregnancy.
Medicines may be given to:
In some people, transfusions of platelets or red blood cells are used to raise the number of these cells.
There is no known way to prevent this health problem.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
Sick Kids—The Hospital for Sick Children
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hemolysis-elevated-liver-enzymes-low-platelets-hellp-syndrome. Accessed August 24, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 8/24/2021
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