The cause of acute kidney injury during pregnancy and in the postpartum period can be particularly challenging to diagnose, especially when it is necessary to differentiate among preeclampsia; eclampsia; hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets (HELLP) syndrome; and thrombotic microangiopathies (TMAs). All these disease entities can present with kidney failure, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, and thrombocytopenia. We present a teaching case of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome in the postpartum period in a young woman who was found to have mutations of uncertain clinical significance in the complement cascade, including in C3, CFH, and CFI. We use this as an opportunity to review the clinical presentation and pathophysiology of preeclampsia, eclampsia, and the TMAs. We focus on diagnostic challenges, especially because many patients with TMA do not present with thrombocytopenia, which can delay diagnosis. We additionally review the clinical settings in which administration of eculizumab, a C5 membrane attack complex inhibitor, is appropriate.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes