Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Oct;90(4 Pt 2):655-7.

Severe folate deficiency masquerading as the syndrome of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Melbourne, Australia.



Although folate deficiency is common in pregnancy, progression to megaloblastosis is not. Hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and coagulopathy due to folate deficiency may mimic the syndrome of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets (HELLP).


Two women presented in the second trimester with abdominal pain and severe thrombocytopenia. These symptoms were misinterpreted in the first woman as the HELLP syndrome, leading to an emergency cesarean delivery. Subsequent investigation revealed folate deficiency; treatment resulted in rapid normalization of all abnormalities. In the second woman, folate deficiency was diagnosed antenatally. Treatment allowed continuation of the pregnancy to term.


The serious complications of folate deficiency make a strong case for supplementation in pregnancy. Careful scrutiny of clinical and laboratory findings may help discriminate the HELLP syndrome from its mimics, avoiding preterm delivery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk