Neonatal outcome in severe preeclampsia at 24 to 36 weeks' gestation: does the HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count) syndrome matter?

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Jan;180(1 Pt 1):221-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70178-x.


Objective: Our purpose was to compare neonatal outcome after preterm delivery of infants whose gestation was complicated by the HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count) syndrome, partial HELLP syndrome, or severe preeclampsia.

Study design: We reviewed the maternal and neonatal charts from 269 consecutive pregnancies complicated by the HELLP syndrome or severe preeclampsia managed at our perinatal center. The HELLP syndrome was defined by previously published laboratory criteria. Viable pregnancies were divided into 3 groups: HELLP syndrome, partial HELLP syndrome (at least 1, but not all 3, features of the HELLP syndrome), and severe preeclampsia (no features of the HELLP syndrome). Results were compared by means of chi2 analysis and Student t test where appropriate. Logistic regression was used to evaluate outcome variables at different gestational ages.

Results: There were no significant differences in complications among the 3 groups at each gestational age. There was, as expected, a significant decrease in morbidity and mortality rates with advanced gestational age.

Conclusions: In severe preeclampsia, neonatal morbidity and death are related to gestational age rather than to the presence or absence of the HELLP syndrome. Whether expectant management is safe for women with the HELLP syndrome requires further study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • HELLP Syndrome / complications*
  • HELLP Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / epidemiology
  • Morbidity
  • Pre-Eclampsia / complications*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third