This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening condition that can potentially complicate pregnancy. 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. 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. The cause of HELLP syndrome is not known, but certain risk factors have been associated with the condition. It is most common in women with preeclampsia or eclampsia. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, HELLP syndrome can lead to serious complications for the mother and baby. The main treatment is to deliver the baby as soon as possible, even if premature, if there is distress of the mother or the baby. Treatment may also include medications needed for the mother or baby, and blood transfusion for severe bleeding problems.
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