Pathogenesis of acute renal failure associated with the HELLP syndrome: a case report and review of the literature

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2003 May 1;108(1):99-102. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(02)00352-4.


Acute renal failure is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy. We describe a 31-year-old woman with haemolytic anemia, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP syndrome) who developed acute peripartum renal failure. Renal biopsy performed 2 weeks later because of persistent oliguria revealed thrombotic microangiopathy and acute tubular necrosis. This case highlights the probable pathogenesis of acute renal failure in HELLP patients and explains why it resolves in the majority of cases. A review of the literature that describes renal histology in HELLP patients is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / urine
  • Adult
  • Arterioles / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • HELLP Syndrome / complications*
  • HELLP Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / blood supply
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Tubular Necrosis, Acute / pathology
  • Oliguria
  • Pregnancy
  • Thrombosis / pathology