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Clinical and laboratorial profile and complications of patients with HELLP syndrome admitted in an obstetric intensive care unit

PURPOSE: to describe the clinical and laboratorial profile of HELLP syndrome patients admitted at an Obstetric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and included in a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone in this clinical setting. METHODS: the present study is a secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial design to evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone in patients with HELLP syndrome. This sample of patients was composed of patients in the puerperium, with the diagnosis of HELLP syndrome (diagnosis made before or after delivery) who were not chronic corticosteroid users and not carriers of any chronic disease which could modify HELLP syndrome's laboratorial parameters. Patients who were too critical or whose condition did not allow them to consent to participate were not included. Data were extracted from the records used in the randomized clinical trial. Age, parity, gestational age at admission and delivery, time of diagnosis (before or after delivery), HELLP syndrome classification (partial or complete), arterial blood pressure, and diuresis at admission were considered for analysis. Among laboratorial findings, hemoglobin, platelet count, liver enzymes, LDH, and serum bilirubin were analyzed. Complications presented by the patients were also analyzed as well as need of blood transfusions and duration of hospitalization. Analysis was made by the Epi-Info 3.3.2 program. RESULTS: one hundred and five patients were analyzed. Age varied from 14 to 49 years (means of 26.7). Regarding parity, 56 patients (53.8%) were primiparas. Analyzing the timing of the diagnosis, 47 patients (45.2%) had the diagnosis before delivery. The mean gestational age in these patients was 32.4 weeks. Hemorrhagic manifestations were observed in 36 patients (34.3%), oliguria was present in 49 patients (46.7%) and criteria for acute renal failure were seen in 21 (20%) of the cases. Hemotransfusions were necessary in 35 (33.3%) patients. Seven patients (6.7%) had pulmonary edema and four patients died, corresponding to 3.8% of the cases. The mean time from diagnosis of HELLP syndrome to discharge or death was 10.3 days, varying from 1 to 33 days. CONCLUSIONS: HELLP syndrome is an ominous diagnosis, which implicates in elevated maternal morbimortality. Among complications, oliguria and hemorrhagic manifestations were the most common findings and hemotransfusions were frequently required. Lethality reached 3.8%.

Pre-eclampsia; HELLP syndrome; HELLP syndrome; Prognosis; Pregnancy complications; Intensive care units; Dexamethasone

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