HELLP syndrome in pregnancy, is a collection of signs and symptoms called syndrome, which characterize this serious and often deadly pregnancy complication.
This syndrome is an acronym for:
H -- hemolysis... which is the abnormal destruction and breakage of red blood cells and release of hemoglobin into the serum
EL-- elevated liver enzymes
LP-- low platelets
There is an ongoing debate, amongst the experts, whether preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome are interrelated or the relationship between the two.... what is not in doubt, is the fact that both of them, can be very severe and sometimes fatal.
Experts all agree, according to research, that as much as 17 percent of pregnant women, with HELLP syndrome, do not have high blood pressure or protein in the urine.
Also what is not in question is the fact that, HELLP syndrome in pregnancy is connected to severe and serious liver problems, including bleeding in the liver and liver rupture.
Pregnant ladies with severe Pre eclampsia may also have similar symptoms as that of the HELLP syndrome
There are at least six (6) Reasons why Preeclampsia and
HELLP Syndrome survivors should not blame themselves… discover the reasons here
The exact causes of HELLP syndrome pregnancy is not fully understood. Researchers believe that, this pregnancy complication may be as result of abnormal placental formation and function. Also there is more pronounced coagulation disorder and liver inflammation.
Coagulation is when the liquid blood is slightly converted to semi solid lumps or clots...creating a host of other problems.
There are other factors being considered as the cause of HELLP, including Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy
HELLP Syndrome in pregnancy is fairly rare. But when it occurs... it is usually very severe.
According to World Health Organization (WHO)...""HELLP Syndrome occur in 10 - 20 percent of women with Severe Pre eclampsia, and it is associated with substantial widespread of endothelial damage""
Symptoms and signs of HELLP usually develop between 28 to 36 weeks of pregnancy ...but can develop anytime.
Usually the diagnosis of HELLP is confirmed with the blood tests comprising of it acronym:
EL--- Elevated liver enzymes
LP--- Low platelets count
The pregnancy doctor / Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist will do all the necessary tests to confirm this diagnosis.
Since every case is very unique, with so many variables of signs, symptoms, family history, stage of pregnancy etc.... the treatment is usually personalized for individual cases.
The treatment and management is usually under the care of the highly trained, experienced and skilled obstetrician gynecologist / pregnancy doctor / Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist who will plan and have direct management and care of this pregnant woman.
Most of the Management involves making sure, the pregnant woman and the baby (fetus) is stabilized and decide when quick delivery of the baby is warranted, complete bed rest may be part of the treatment.
Usually the pregnant woman will be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for close observation, treatment, and monitoring of the mother-to-be and the fetus.
Medications used by the medical doctors may include:
ECULIZUMAB.... an inhibitor that targets complement protein C5
Labetalol , Nifedipine, Hydralazine, etc., for high blood pressure
Use of Corticosteroids
Blood transfusion, or administration of blood products.
Other medications to prevent seizures (convulsions) like Magnesium Sulphate.
Because there is no way to prevent this condition at the moment, please ensure you attend your prenatal / antenatal appointments as arranged.
Watch out for its signs and symptoms and seek medical help without any delay, if and when you need it... or when you noticed something is not going as expected.
In conclusion, as deadly and life threatening HELLP Syndrome in Pregnancy may be.... most deaths and fatalities can be avoided, when the problem is diagnosed early, and appropriate and proper treatment and management is started.
RELATED ARTICLES :