Author(s): Eser B, Guven M, Unal A, Coskun R, Altuntas F
Plasma exchange therapy has been successfully used in selected patients with hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome who have organ failure or refractory to treatment. There is no prospective study regarding plasma exchange and its effect in HELLP syndrome. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of early postpartum use of plasma exchange in patients with HELLP syndrome on outcomes. The mortality rate and the recovery times were compared in patients with HELLP syndrome treated with plasma exchange and historic control group of patients treated conservatively. During a 3-year period (between April 2000 and December 2003), 29 consecutive patients with HELLP syndrome were treated with single or multiple plasma exchange by using fresh-frozen plasma at post-partum period. The control group consist of 26 patients with HELLP syndrome treated between 1993 and 1999. Maternal mortality rate was 23.1% in the control group; there was no death in plasma exchange group; and the mortality rate was significantly higher in the control group (p=0.006). The length of stay at the intensive care unit was shorter in the plasma exchange group (p<0.0001). Rapid improvement of the platelet, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactic dehydrogenase levels were observed in the plasma exchange group. This study showed that postpartum early plasma exchange therapy improves treatment outcomes in patients with severe HELLP syndrome.