HELLPS SYNDROME - A CONDITION THAT COULD AFFECT
I had never heard of HELLPS Syndrome until recently when my sister gave birth to her daughter. Towards the end of her pregnancy she began to experience symptoms such as pain her back, nausea, vomiting and swelling. She was taken to the hospital and was admitted. Her condition began to deteriorate quickly after admission to the hospital. Her blood pressure was extremely high and the doctors decided to induce labor. Because of the complications of HELLPS, she ended up having to have a c-section, but had to have a blood transfusion prior to the c-section. After delivery my sister developed pulmonary edema (fluid on her lungs), which is a complication of HELLPS Syndrome. My sister said she felt like she was going to die, and the fact is, she and the baby almost died from this condition. My sister and her daughter made it through this horrible experience, but some pregnant women do not survive.
What is HELLPS Syndrome? HELLPS Syndrome is a liver disorder that can be fatal in pregnant women.
H -- hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells)
EL -- elevated liver enzymes
LP -- low platelet count
HELLPS Syndrome usually occurs before 35 weeks of pregnancy, but it can also occur after childbirth. This condition needs to be treated as a medical emergency. HELLPS can often be misdiagnosed as:
- Flu or other viral illness
- Gallbladder disease
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
- Lupus flare
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
The Symptoms of HELLPS Syndrome are:
- Fatigue or feeling unwell
- Fluid retention and excess weight gain
- Nausea and vomiting that continues to get worse
- Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
- Blurry vision
- Nosebleed or other bleeding that won't stop easily (rare)
- Seizures or convulsions (rare)
The treatment of HELLPS Syndrome is to deliver the baby. After the baby is delivered, most women recover within a few days, some women with severe complications could take longer to recover and will have to be monitored very closely by their doctors.
For women who consider becoming pregnant in the future after having HELLPS Syndrome, it will be considered a high risk pregnancy. HELLPS Syndrome is a very serious condition for pregnant women so please spread this message so pregnant women can be aware of this life threatening condition.