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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

HELLP syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Lowered Platelets
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening condition that can potentially complicate pregnancy.[1] It is named for 3 features of the condition: Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzyme levels, and Low Platelet levels. It typically occurs in the last 3 months of pregnancy (the third trimester) but can also start soon after delivery.[2] A wide range of non-specific symptoms may be present in women with HELLP syndrome. Symptoms may include fatigue; malaise; fluid retention and excess weight gain; headache; nausea and vomiting; pain in the upper right or middle of the abdomen; blurry vision; and rarely, nosebleed or seizures.[1][3] The cause of HELLP syndrome is not known, but certain risk factors have been associated with the condition.[1] It is most common in women with preeclampsia or eclampsia.[3] If not diagnosed and treated quickly, HELLP syndrome can lead to serious complications for the mother and baby.[2] The main treatment is to deliver the baby as soon as possible, even if premature.[3] Treatment may also include medications needed for the mother or baby, and blood transfusion for severe bleeding problems.[3]
Last updated: 5/2/2016

References

  1. Huma Khan. HELLP Syndrome. Medscape Reference. December 30, 2015; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1394126-overview.
  2. HELLP Syndrome. FamilyDoctor.org. April 2014; http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/hellp-syndrome.printerview.all.html.
  3. White CD. HELLP syndrome. MedlinePlus. November 2014; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000890.htm.
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Basic Information

  • The American Pregnancy Association provides information about HELLP syndrome.
  • FamilyDoctor.org provides additional information about HELLP syndrome. Click on the link above to access this information.
  • March of Dimes has information on HELLP syndrome.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manual provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers. 
  • The Preeclampsia Foundation provides information about HELLP syndrome. The information includes the signs and symptoms of the syndrome, risks, prognosis, and more. 

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss HELLP syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Lowered Platelets
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.