HELLP syndrome and digestive disease: Differential diagnosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The early detection of HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) is the basic condition for an immediate therapeutic management, which mainly leads to prompt delivery. The classical symptoms are epigastric or right upper quadrant pain, nausea and vomiting, although they may be absent in 20% of women. The differential diagnostic problems of HELLP syndrome arise in relation to the mimicry-symptomatic upper abdominal pain which can imitate gastroenterologic diseases (e.g. cholelythiasis, appendicitis); the elevated liver enzymes combinated with hyperbilirubinemia can imitate liver diseases (e.g. viral hepatitis). The delay and detours in interdisciplinary approach are often the consequences of these differential diagnostic problems, which could imply deleterious effects on the mother and the fetus, until reaching the final diagnosis. Therefore, all pregnant women with upper abdominal pain, irrespective of symptoms of pre-eclampsia, should be considered to have HELLP syndrome and immediate laboratory evaluation has to be done. If there is any doubt an interdisciplinary consultation is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-96
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Gastroenterohepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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