HELLP syndrome on the rise: a major cause of maternal deaths

Pratibha Devabhaktuni, Malathi Ponnuru, Lahari Reddy Vangala, Lavanya Bommakanti, Maljini Nawinne, Suneetha Komatlapalli


Background: In the recent years, 2021 to 2022, there has been a sudden rise in the number of HELLP syndrome cases admitted to Modern Government Maternity Hospital, (MGMH) / Osmania Medical College. There were maternal deaths due to complications secondary to HELLP syndrome. Complications like placental abruption, DIC, PPH, PRAKI, pulmonary edema, were responsible for maternal deaths. The need for blood products has increased enormously. In our earlier study of eclampsia and imminent eclampsia from the same Institute, during 2004 to 2007, we did not find HELLP syndrome to be a major cause of maternal deaths. Hence, we proceeded with in depth study of the complications, morbidity and mortality and some management issues related to HELLP syndrome. All 70 cases of HELLP in this study had associated Preeclampsia/eclampsia.

Methods: This is a prospective analytical observational study of 70 cases of HELLP syndrome.

Results: Recurrent preeclampsia was noted in 6÷45=13.33%. Cases of hypothyroidism were observed in 6÷45=13.33%. There were four sets of twins, 8.88%. Placental abruption was noted in 10/70 women with HELLP, 14.28%, DIC occurred in 15÷70=21.42%, PPH occurred in 11÷45 cases, 24.44%, PRAKI was recorded in 16/70 patients, 22.85%, Pulmonary edema occurred in 5/70, 7.14%, PPCM in cases with HELLP syndrome were 2÷70=2.85%, Abdominal delivery was needed in 53÷70=75.71%, Maternal mortality in the present study was10÷70=14.28%, The perinatal mortality was 21.33%. Blood products were needed in 22/45 cases, (9.136) units on the average.

Conclusions: Dissemination of knowledge that immediate delivery should be planned in all cases of HELLP, irrespective of gestational age is the need of the hour. Postponing delivery would lead to complications.


HELLP syndrome, HDP, Maternal mortality, PRAKI, Blood products, Immediate delivery

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