GenPE - Estudio de Genes Candidatos en Preeclampsia

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 HELLP SYNDROME

 

¿WHAT IS HELLP SYNDROME?

HELLP is the abbreviation used for the main findings of this entity: Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count.

Hellp syndrome is presented only during pregnancy, is less frequent than preeclampsia, but with more severe complications such as bleeding, brain edema or liver problems, and can compromise the maternal and newborn health in a serious manner.

Approximately the 1% of women with Hellp syndrome and the 7 to 20% of their babies, died as a consequence of this disease.

 

¿WHY THE HELLP SYNDROME DEVELOPS?

The cause of Hellp syndrome is not known, none the less, it is considered an alteration of the inner layer of all blood vessels (endothelium), causing an activation of the coagulation system and reduction of the blood flow to many tissues.  The main consequence of this process is the multiorganic failure (brain, liver, placenta, kidney, etc), causing the classical manifestations of this entity that are risky for the mother and baby’s life.

¿WHO IS AT RISK OF SUFFERING HELLP SYNDROME?

Any pregnant women can be affected by this disease. The specific causes are not known, but there have been identified some factors that increase the risk of developing it:

  • Previous personal history of preeclampsia or Hellp syndrome
  • Being older than 35 years old or younger than 20 years old.
  • Previous history of chronic hypertension.
  • Family history of preeclampsia
  • Presence of other diseases diagnosed before pregnancy, such as chronic renal disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, obesity or diabetes.

 

¿WHICH ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HELLP SYNDROME?

The more common symptoms of Hellp syndrome are:

  • Stomach-ache in the upper-right side.
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Malaise
  • Edema, specially in hands or face
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Rarely, it can be present bleeding gums

 

In case you have any of the previous symptoms, you must attend to your physician; he will develop a complete physical examination and will do the diagnostic confirmation according to the results of specific laboratory test.

 

¿WHICH ARE THE TEST USED FOR THE DIAGNOSIS OF HELLP SYNDROME?

Beside the physical examination and a complete medical history, the physician should also request the following:

  • Determination of blood pressure
  • Platelet count
  • Total bilirubin
  • Liver function tests
  • Protein in urine

 

¿WHICH IS THE TREATMENT OF HELLP SYNDROME?

There is not an easy and fast cure for this particular syndrome. The only cure is to induce the delivery. If the physician considered appropriate he will forward the date of birth (which could be done by cesarean or vaginal way). Most women show improvement of their symptoms a couple of days after giving birth. Depending on the severity of the disease, the physician will indicate the proceeding to follow, which can include:

  • Hospitalization
  • Rest on bed
  • If the patient presents severe anemia, bleeding, low platelet count, she should probably need a blood transfusion.
  • Anti-hypertensive medication to control the blood pressure
  • Laboratory test for urine and blood to control and monitoring the severity of the disease.

 

IS THE HELLP SYNDROME RISKY FOR ME OR FOR MY BABY?
As a consequence of the reduce blood flow to different organs of the mother, the Hellp syndrome can cause different manifestations, such as:

  • Degradation of the red blood cells that can cause anemia or coagulation disorders.
  • Seizures
  • Disseminated Intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a severe complication that can cause hemorrhage or serious bleeding.
  • Early separation of the placenta (placental abruption)
  • Renal Failure
  • Accumulation of fluids in the lungs (Pulmonary edema)

Your baby can suffer severe complications caused by the premature birth, or the reduce blood supply; the severity of the manifestations will defined the needing of a neonatal intensive unite care for monitoring the development of the baby.
The repercussion of Hellp syndrome affect the mother and the newborn, for this reason it is very important to attend to the prenatal controls, and inform to your physician when appearing any alarm symptom to make sure you get the appropriate treatment and supervision along your gestation.



 

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