Pre Eclampsia support
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Pre Eclampsia support

For Women & their families who have suffered with Pre Eclampsia, Eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and related conditions.
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 Hellp syndrome or PE?

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Join date : 2010-07-08

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PostSubject: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyMon 09 Aug 2010, 4:18 pm

I don't know if anyone can shed light on this but I was always led to believe that the reason I had to have emergency c sections was due to servere PE. Even when going through my pregnancy notes this is the cause given. However I received a discharge sheet which related to my daughter (born premature at 27 wks) and it identified that PE and HELLP syndrome as the reasons for her early birth. Are these the same thing (i thought HELLP developed after PE) or have I not been given the full information surrounding my condition?

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Join date : 2009-10-27

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PostSubject: Re: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyTue 10 Aug 2010, 1:10 am

I had PE and Hellps.
My hellps developed after Luke was born.
My blood results got worst after delivery and this is what defined the Hellps
It's not really a very well known condition so I'm not surprised that it was overlooked in communication with you.
I only know about it because the consultant sat down and chatted to my husband whilst I was really ill, I wasn't well enough to comprehend.

I *think* you can have PE without hellps, and you can have hellps without/before PE develops, and you can have both.

hope someone else comes along and gives better advice.
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Age : 38
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PostSubject: Re: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyTue 10 Aug 2010, 11:35 am


I had severe PE and HELLP Syndrome. I was admitted with 4+ protein and ridiculously high BP. They did manage to control my BP with IV labetelol (BP drugs), but I had to be induced because I developed HELLP, with falling platelets and elevated liver enzymes (basically I was told failing liver and kidneys).

My Consultant said HELLP is a really severe form of PE in which they have to act quickly because it can be fatal for the mother. However, HELLP can develop by itself without the high BPs and protein, although this is very unusual and called A-typical (I think!) pre eclampsia. You can also develop pre eclampsia without the HELLP.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Bea's Mummy
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PostSubject: Re: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyTue 10 Aug 2010, 4:42 pm

I was exactly the same as Emma, +4 protein, high bp and liver, platelet problems. I think it is just the severe form although I believe it is less likely to reoccur than PE. Might be wrong though!

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PostSubject: Re: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyTue 10 Aug 2010, 5:32 pm

I had severe PE before I was induced (BP around 220/110) and protein off the scale (PCR ratio 529); plus pulmonary oedema.

I had HELLP syndrome diagnosed a couple of days post-partum. HELLP stands for Haemolysis (breaking down of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets. Some women have one or two elements of HELLP (most commonly LP or EL or ELLP), but the worst cases like mine seem to have all 3!

Nevertheless I made a full recovery physically quite fast; emotionally I don't think I will ever be the same but then my daughter did not survive.

I think its common for HELLP to develop subsequent to the diagnosis of PE, but this disease is so unpredictable virtually anything can happen.
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Liz Pidgley
Liz Pidgley

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PostSubject: Re: Hellp syndrome or PE?   Hellp syndrome or PE? EmptyFri 01 Oct 2010, 1:00 pm

Oh my goodness - I cannot believe I missed this whole thread! I am so sorry everyone.

Ok - HELLP Syndrome....
HELLP is the term for one of the most serious complications of pre-eclampsia, in which there is a combined liver and blood clotting disorder.

H stands for Haemolysis (rupture of the red blood cells);
EL stands for Elevated Liver enzymes in the blood (reflecting liver damage);
LP stands for Low blood levels of Platelets (special blood cells which are vital for clotting).

HELLP is as dangerous as eclampsia and possibly more common, although it is less easy to diagnose. .


HELLP syndrome may be preceded by clear signs of pre-eclampsia - most typically high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of hands, feet or face. But, like eclampsia, it can also arise out of the blue without any of the classic warning signs.

The typical presenting symptom is pain just below the ribs (Ďepigastric painí), sometimes accompanied by vomiting and headaches and/or visual disturbances.

This pain is sometimes confused with the discomfort of heartburn, a very common problem during pregnancy. But, unlike heartburn, the pain of HELLP syndrome is not burning, does not spread upwards towards the throat and is not relieved by antacid.

The pain is often very severe and is associated with tenderness over the liver.(under the ribs to the right).

I hope this answers some questions but please do nudge me if I have missed anything else or there is something else I can help with!

Best Wishes

It is not uncommon for women with this pain to be diagnosed as suffering from some other acute abdominal condition, typically inflammation of the gall bladder (cholecystitis) or even gallstones.


As with eclampsia, HELLP syndrome is most likely to occur immediately after delivery - sometimes developing with devastating speed.

However, it can arise at any stage during the second half of pregnancy after 20 weeks - and some rare cases have been recorded even earlier.

HELLP syndrome may be associated with one or more of the following problems:

* Severely disturbed blood clotting function, leading to heavy, uncontrollable bleeding, particularly after surgery;

* Severe liver damage, which can lead to failure or even rupture of this vital organ;

* Severe kidney problems, including kidney failure;

* Breathing difficulties, which may be severe enough for the mother to need artificial ventilation.

* Stroke (cerebral haemorrhage) with or without eclampsia.


The diagnosis of HELLP syndrome can only be confirmed in hospital, and emergency admission is essential for all suspected cases.

Once the syndrome is diagnosed the baby should be delivered as soon as the motherís condition is stable, regardless of the maturity of the baby, since delivery is the only cure for this life-threatening condition.

the blood clotting system is severely disturbed it may be necessary to give transfusions of the platelets essential to clotting before delivery can take place.

It is not uncommon for the symptoms to become worse - or to develop for the first time - in the 48 hours following delivery, and treatment in an intensive care unit may be necessary.

All treatment is aimed at supporting the motherís systems which have failed (liver, kidney, lungs, clotting) until such time as they have recovered enough to cope on their own.

Providing no permanent damage has occurred, the mother should enjoy a full recovery. This may take as little as a few days or as long as three month depending on the severity of impact on the mother.


HELLP is a maternal problem which has no specific effects on the unborn baby.

However, as with all cases of severe pre-eclampsia, the baby may suffer growth restriction and even distress as a result of the underlying cause - a shortage of maternal blood flow to the placenta. The increased risk of bleeding may present in placental abrubtion.

Most cases of HELLP delivery is for the motherís benefit, sometimes with tragic results for babies who are too premature to survive outside the womb.


About one sufferer in every 20 will suffer a recurrence of HELLP in her next pregnancy. However, there is no way of predicting who is most likely to suffer a recurrence and no specific means of prevention, although treatment with low-dose aspirin may be recommended in cases where the syndrome developed relatively early in pregnancy - ie before 32 weeks. For optimum safety, any woman who has suffered HELLP in one pregnancy should be considered Ďat higher riskí in the next pregnancy and monitored carefully throughout with a view to detecting signs of recurrence at the earliest possible stage.

Preconception counselling with an expert to devise an appropriate antenatal care programme for the next pregnancy is advisable.

Every Woman is entitled to understand what happened in her pregnancy when pre eclampsia strikes. I hope to be able to support that process.
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