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A first-time pregnant woman began to experience right sided abdominal pain and fatigue towards her final trimester, which was diagnosed as HELLP syndrome, a potentially fatal pregnancy related triad of symptoms. HELLP stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count, which is related to pre-eclampsia. Both are caused by unknown factors and can be reversed with delivery of the baby. HELLP is diagnosed by its symptoms and clinical examination, blood tests further support the diagnosis, but it cannot be predicted. It results in death in 1-3% of mothers who are diagnosed with the condition, but it can have lasting effects with end organ failure, including lung, kidney and liver disease. Babies also suffer fatalities directly due to the syndrome and as a result of being born premature, with a 7-20% death rate. They are also at risk of cerebral palsy, blood clots, gastrointestinal problems and premature lung diseases. Symptoms to look out for in pregnant mothers include headaches, extreme fatigue, swelling of body parts, and upper abdomen pain, which can rapidly lead to irreversible organ damage and death.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Indystar.com
About: Pregnancy syndrome risks maternal and fetal death
Date: 29 November 2005
Author: Ellen Crowley Fullerton
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