Leptospirosis in Pregnancy: A Rare Condition Mimicking HELLP Syndrome

Carmen Tong, Manisha Mathur


We report a case of leptospirosis in pregnancy. A 37-year-old woman of para 1, normal vaginal delivery (NVD) presented at 33 weeks with 3 days of jaundice and diarrhea and no history of fever, abdominal pain, itch or pale stools. Her pregnancy was uneventful except for gestational diabetes. On examination she had jaundice otherwise unremarkable. Investigations revealed proteinuria, hemolysis, low platelets, raised transaminases and bilirubin. Working diagnosis was of atypical hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets (HELLP) syndrome owing to absence of hypertension. She progressed into labour 1 day later after preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), had thick meconium and pathological cardiotocography (CTG). She delivered a baby weighing 1,736 g and normal Apgar scores. Arterial cord pH was 7.275, lactate 3.04, base excess of -8.8 and venous pH was 7.316, lactate 2.93, BE -10.6. Leptospirosis EIA IgM antibody was positive and placenta histology showed focus increased perivillous fibrinoid deposits with acute intervillositis and meconium staining. Baby showed no signs of congenital leptospirosis and was discharged on day 15 of life. Patients symptoms resolved within 2 weeks and her biochemistry normalized within 1 month. Owning to unusual presentation and rarity, leptospirosis in pregnancy is often misdiagnosed and underreported. It mimics HELLP syndrome, viral hepatitis, obstetric cholestasis and acute fatty liver of pregnancy. It has severe implications of early miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal leptospirosis requiring high index of suspicion, need for increased awareness, early diagnosis and treatment.

J Med Cases. 2018;9(7):198-200
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3073w


Leptospirosis; Pregnancy; HELLP

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