HELLP syndrome: A syndrome featuring a combination of "H" for hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells), "EL" for elevated liver enzymes, and "LP" for low platelet count (an essential blood clotting element).
The HELLP syndrome is a recognized complication of preeclampsia and eclampsia (toxemia) of pregnancy, occurring in 25% of these pregnancies.
Common symptoms in women with the HELLP syndrome include a general feeling of feeling unwell (malaise), nausea and/or vomiting, and pain in the upper abdomen. Increased fluid in the tissues (edema) is also frequent. Protein is measurable in the urine of most women with the HELLP syndrome. Blood pressure may be elevated. Occasionally, coma can result from seriously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
The first order of treatment of HELLP syndrome is management of the blood clotting issues. Urgent delivery is required if the growth of the fetus is restricted, Delivery is also required if the syndrome develops after 34 weeks' gestation, if the fetus' lungs are mature, or if the mother's health is in jeopardy.
After delivery, the mother's status is monitored closely. The HELLP syndrome can be complicated by liver rupture, anemia, bleeding, and death.
The HELLP syndrome can also develop during the early period after delivery of a baby.
Women with a history of HELLP syndrome are considered at increased risk for complications in future pregnancies.