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J Clin Apher. 1994;9(4):228-35.

HELLP syndrome: laboratory parameters and clinical course in four patients treated with plasma exchange.

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Apheresis Unit/Transfusion Service, Ohio State University Hospitals, Columbus, USA.


We report our apheresis department's experience with four patients with HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets) syndrome. The average age of the patients was 23.25 years (range 19-27). Three were in their second pregnancy while one was a primigravida. All had symptoms of pre-eclampsia prior to delivery. All experienced the syndrome postpartum. Plasma exchange was instituted an average of 3.25 days postpartum (range 1.08-7.33 days). All underwent plasmapheresis with fresh frozen plasma replacement. The average number of plasma exchange treatments was four (range 1-8). The first laboratory parameter to reach its peak/nadir was the aspartate aminotransferase (AST), followed by the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme level, followed by the hemoglobin (HGB) level, and, finally, the platelet count (PLT). The AST was the first parameter to peak and the first to normalize. In the three cases in which more than one plasmapheresis procedure was performed, plasmapheresis was required for an average of 98 hours (range 39-206 hours) after a normal AST level was obtained in order to achieve a self-sustaining platelet count of > or = 100 x 10(9)/L. No additional exchanges were required to maintain the PLT once a PLT of over 100 x 10(9)/L was attained. The laboratory values normalized in the following order: AST, HGB, PLT, and LDH. Three patients were discharged anemic. One was discharged with a normal LDH level. By our experience, awaiting normal LDH levels as an indicator for cessation of plasma exchange therapy would mean subjecting the patients to many unnecessary procedures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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