Coagulation and plasma fibronectin parameters in HELLP syndrome

D. M. Paternoster, A. Stella, P. Simioni, M. Mussap, M. Plebani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets) has a high fetal mortality and maternal morbidity, partly due to its late diagnosis. In order to facilitate earlier diagnosis, we studied the changes occurring in natural coagulation inhibitors, fibronectin and haptoglobin as potential early markers of endothelial damage, coagulation cascade activation and intravascular hemolysis. Methods: The study compared antithrombin (AT-III), protein C and S activity, plasma fibronectin, 'prothrombin time' and 'partial prothrombin time' (AST, ALT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), bilirubin and serum haptoglobin in 17 asymptomatic controls, 19 preeclampsia patients and 11 HELLP syndrome patients. Results: HELLP syndrome patients had higher fibronectin and D-dimer values, lower AT-III and protein C activity, a lower platelet count and higher LDH than healthy controls; only 25% had raised bilirubin. Serum haptoglobin was lower in HELLP syndrome. Conclusions: Early on in HELLP syndrome, there is probably a pro-coagulatory imbalance in the placental microcirculation. Endothelial damage causes tissue thromboplastin release and coagulation cascade activation due to collagen exposure; the vascular lesion increases thromboplastin in the bloodstream and triggers distant coagulation processes, suggesting compensated disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. Measuring plasma fibronectin and coagulation inhibitors should be supported by testing haptoglobin as a marker of intravessel hemolysis to differentiate conventional preeclampsia from HELLP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Coagulation parameters
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Fibronectin
  • Haptoglobin
  • HELLP syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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