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Regional anaesthesia for primary caesarean section in patients with preterm HELLP syndrome: a review of 102 cases
1 Department of Anaesthesiology
2 Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Antwerp University Hospital, UZA, Edegem (Belgium)
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2009, 36(4), 230–234;
Published: 10 December 2009
Objective: To determine the feasibility and the safety of combined spinal/epidural and spinal anaesthetic techniques for primary caesarean section in case of preterm HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets) syndrome. Methods: A retrospective study was carried out in a tertiary centre including all patients who underwent primary caesarean section for HELLP syndrome. The immediate preoperative and the lowest thrombocyte count, the method of anaesthesia and eventual complications were recorded. Patients were categorised as having antepartum or postpartum HELLP syndrome. Results: A total number of 102 charts was reviewed. Mean gestational age was 30.6 weeks (SD 2.7, range 23-36 weeks). There were seven (6.9%) patients with postpartum HELLP and 95 with antepartum HELLP. In case of antepartum HELLP in 37 (36.3%) general anaesthesia was selected; in 53 (52.0 %) combined spinal epidural anaesthesia and in 12 (11.8%) single dose spinal anaesthesia. Preoperative thrombocyte count was significantly higher (p < 0.01) in the combined spinal epidural group (113,000/mm3) while there was no difference between general (88,000/mm3) and spinal anaesthesia (95,000/mm3). There were no cases of epidural haematoma. Two patients received a combined spinal epidural although their immediate preoperative thrombocyte count was < 50,000/mm3. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that combined spinal/epidural is feasible and safe in selected cases of HELLP syndrome.