The evaluation of maternal parameters at diagnosis may predict HELLP syndrome severity

G. Carpani, M. Bozzo, E. Ferrazzi, B. D'Amato, D. Pizzotti, T. Radaelli, G. Moroni, G. Pardi

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Objective: Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome, a severe manifestation of pre-eclampsia and/or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) of the fetoplacental unit, is classified into three classes, according to the lowest platelet count observed during the course of the disease. The aim of our work was to analyze the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate transferase (AST), alanine transferase (ALT) and platelets at the time of HELLP syndrome diagnosis, to find possible cut-off values that could predict the severity of the syndrome from its early onset. Methods: A retrospective analysis of the clinical records of 26 patients consecutively diagnosed with classes 1 and 2 HELLP syndrome was performed. Platelet count (x 1000/ml), LDH (IU/l), AST (IU/l), ALT (IU/l), hemoglobin (g/dl), hematocrit (%) and D-dimer (log of citer) were determined at admission and compared with the most severe peak values. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to calculate the best cut-off value at admission which correlated with the development of class 1 HELLP syndrome (the most severe condition). The post-test probability of developing class 1 severity was calculated. Results: Mean gestational age at diagnosis was 33.4 weeks (range 23-40 weeks). Peak values of LDH, AST and ALT were significantly higher in class 1 HELLP syndrome patients. The platelet count at admission was not informative in differentiating patients who would later develop class 1 or class 2 HELLP syndrome. According to the best cut-off values at admission for LDH, AST and ALT, the post-test probability to predict patients with class 1 HELLP syndrome was 74%, 71% and 78%, respectively. If all the three parameters were above the cut-off value, the probability increased to 90%. Conclusions: The LDH, AST and ALT values at admission blood test, and to a greater extent the combination of all three abnormal tests, could predict the severity of HELLP syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003



  • Hellp syndrome
  • Liver enzymes
  • Pre-eclampsia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Cite this

Carpani, G., Bozzo, M., Ferrazzi, E., D'Amato, B., Pizzotti, D., Radaelli, T., Moroni, G., & Pardi, G. (2003). The evaluation of maternal parameters at diagnosis may predict HELLP syndrome severity. Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 13(3), 147-151.