[Obstetric management of patients with HELLP syndrome].Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1993 May-Jun; 197(3):112-8.ZG
The syndrome of haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count (HELLP-Syndrome) is a severe form of preeclampsia and eclampsia. The clinical course is characterized by right upper quadrant and epigastric pain, hypertension, proteinuria and edema. Maternal and neonatal morbidity are high. The underlying cause for this pregnancy-related syndrome is still unclear. As soon as a reliable diagnosis is established handling of patients suffering from HELLP-Syndrome is ambivalent: Immediate termination of pregnancy, however, poses a problem at early gestational age. Therefore some authors have advocated a conservative management. At our department active management and delivery by Caesarean section as soon as possible has gained acceptance in the past 5 years. We report our experience with 23 patients over a 12 year period, and with 4 patients from the intensive care unit (N = 27). Mean gestational age was 33.5 weeks (+/- 4.8) and the mean birthweight was 1922.5 g (+/- 971.5). 19 patients were delivered by Caesarean section. Most complications were based on a delayed delivery and subsequent deterioration of maternal condition. Reduction of the time interval between establishment of diagnosis and termination of pregnancy (1980-1985-3 days; 1986-1992-12 hours) resulted in a better outcome. We recommend intensive laboratory screening and exact clinical examination since missed or delayed diagnosis as well as delayed delivery are life threatening for mother and child. Only prompt delivery yields an improvement of prognosis.