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Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Sep;108(3 Pt 2):817-20.

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura masquerading as hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome in late pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.



Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura rarely presents during late pregnancy or immediately postpartum. This report describes the clinical course of a patient considered to have hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome but later determined to have thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.


At 37 weeks of gestation, a multiparous woman was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. She received high-dose dexamethasone, magnesium, antihypertensives, and platelets before delivery. Over the next 36 hours, renal function acutely worsened and death ensued. One week after death a plasma ADAMTS13 activity of 4% was reported.


Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura can mimic HELLP syndrome late in gestation. Lack of response to dexamethasone within 12-24 hours and atypical relationships among laboratory values are two clues that thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura may be the underlying pathology and that plasma exchange is emergently needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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