HELLP syndrome is a pregnancy complication thought to be a severe form of preeclampsia. It is a life-threatening condition characterized by Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count. It is believed that HELLP affects 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all pregnancies. About 5-8 percent of women are diagnosed with preeclampsia during pregnancy, and 10-20 percent of those with severe preeclampsia will develop HELLP, although HELLP can sometimes occur without any signs of preeclampsia. These are the most common symptoms observed in women with HELLP syndrome.
Signs and symptoms usually occur in the last trimester of pregnancy, although in up to 8 percent of cases, HELLP syndrome will occur within 48 hours after delivery. In 30-60% of HELLP cases, women report headaches ranging from mild to severe. According to BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, clinical symptoms including headache, visual disturbance changes, epigastric pain, and nausea-vomiting, have been better predictors of prognosis than lab tests.