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Reminder of important clinical lesson
Do not forget about HELLP!
  1. Michael Bennett
  1. Emergency Department, Adelaide and Meath incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Bennett, mbennett1977{at}


A 32-year-old female para 4 gravi 3, who was 21 weeks pregnant, presented to the emergency department (ED) with a 2-day history of abdominal pain, headache, blurred vision and vomiting. On arrival, she was agitated and confused with a blood pressure 162/106 mm Hg, pulse rate 107, respiratory rate 18, temperature 37 degrees Celsius, point of care blood glucose 6.2 and her Glasgow coma scale was 13/15 M6V4E3. Paramedics witnessed seizure-like activity lasting <1 min during transport. A diagnosis of eclampsia complicated by the HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets count) was made. She was commenced on magnesium and labetalol intravenously for blood pressure control. Initial blood test results were consistent with the HELLP syndrome. Recognition of the HELLP syndrome with prompt management of blood pressure and clotting abnormalities is essential in the ED setting. An aggressive multidisciplinary approach is a key to optimise the prognosis for mother and fetus.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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