Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

What Is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a complex condition where an immune reaction, a lot of frequently after an intestinal tract infection, causes low red blood cell levels, low platelet levels, and kidney injury.

Infections of the gastrointestinal system (your stomach and intestinal tracts) are the most common reason for this syndrome. The body’s immune system reacts to contaminants released during an intestinal tract microbial infection. This causes damage and damage to blood cells as they circulate through the blood vessels. These consist of red blood cells (RBC) and platelets, triggering them to pass away too soon. The kidney is impacted in 2 ways.The immune response can cause direct damage to kidney cells resulting in kidney injury. Additionally, an accumulation of damaged RBCs or platelets can clog up the kidney’s filtering system and cause kidney injury or an accumulation of waste items in the body, given that the kidney can no more effectively remove waste from the blood.

Kidney injury can be quite major if left unattended. Kidney failure, harmful elevations in high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke are all issues if HUS advances without prompt treatment.

HUS is the most typical cause of acute kidney failure in kids. It is most common in children under the age of 5, although older kids and adults can likewise deal with the condition.

Fortunately, the majority of people who get timely treatment can make a complete recovery without long-term kidney damage.

Symptoms & Signs of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

The signs of HUS vary. Symptoms could consist of:

  • bloody diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • light skin
  • irritation
  • tiredness
  • fever
  • unexplained contusions or bleeding
  • decreased urination
  • stomach swelling
  • blood in the urine
  • confusion
  • throwing up
  • inflamed face
  • swollen limbs
  • seizures (uncommon).

What Causes Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

HUS takes place where an immune reaction causes destruction to blood cells. This results in low red blood cell levels, low platelet levels, and kidney injury.

Main Causes HUS in Children

The most typical underlying reason for HUS in kids is infection with Escherichia Coli (E. coli). There are various forms of E. coli, and most do not cause problems. In truth, E. coli germs are typically discovered in the intestinal tracts of healthy people and animals. However, some particular strains of E. coli, handed down through infected food, are responsible for infections that can result in HUS. Bodies of water that are contaminated with feces may also bring E. coli.

Other germs such as Shigella dysenteriae and Salmonella typhi can cause HUS.

Common Causes HUS in Adults

HUS in grownups can likewise be set off by infection with E. coli. There are likewise lots of non-bacterial causes of HUS in adults that are less typical, consisting of:.

  • pregnancy.
  • HIV/AIDS infection.
  • quinine (used for muscle cramps).
  • chemotherapy and immunosuppressant medication.
  • contraceptive pill.
  • anti-platelet medications.
  • cancer.
  • systemic lupus and glomerulonephritis.

How Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Diagnosed

Some extremely standard tests can be purchased to figure out whether blood cells have actually been damaged or kidney function compromised:.

A total blood count (CBC) determines the quantity and quality of RBCs and platelets in a blood sample.

Other Blood Tests
In order to check for loss of kidney function, your medical professional might order a BUN test (which tries to find raised urea by-products) and creatinine test (searching for elevated muscle by-products). Abnormal results might indicate kidney problems.

Urine Test
Your medical professional will want to check for blood or protein in your urine.

Stool Sample
Bacteria or blood in your stool might assist your medical professional separate the underlying cause of your signs.

Treatment for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

Typical treatments for HUS might include:

Fluid Replacement

The crucial treatment for HUS is fluid replacement. This treatment replaces electrolytes that the body has to function. Electrolytes are minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Fluid replacement likewise enhances blood flow through the kidneys. Your physician will give you intravenous fluids, however might also encourage you to enhance your fluid intake by drinking more water or electrolyte options.

Blood Transfusion

A red blood transfusion might be needed if you have a low level of RBCs. Transfusions are carried out in the hospital. Transfusions can ease symptoms related to low RBC counts, such as shortness of breath and extreme tiredness.

These signs are consistent with anemia, a condition in which your body can not produce adequate red blood cells to provide the body organs with sufficient oxygen to carry on normal metabolic process. This brought on by the loss of RBC’s.

Other Treatments

Your physician will take you off of any medications that could be the underlying cause of HUS.

Platelet transfusion may be necessary if you have a low platelet count.

Plasma exchange is another type of treatment, in which your medical professional changes your blood plasma with plasma from a donor. You will receive healthy plasma to support the blood circulation of healthy, new red blood cells and platelets.

Possible Complications for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

In severe cases if your kidneys have failed, kidney dialysis might be used to filter waste from your body. This is a short-lived treatment up until the kidneys can function typically. If they do not regain normal function, you might require a kidney transplant.

Long-Term Complications

The main problem of HUS is kidney failure. Nevertheless, HUS can also cause:

  • hypertension.
  • pancreatitis.
  • altered mindset.
  • seizures.
  • cardiomyopathy.
  • stroke.
  • coma.

Fortunately, most individuals are able to make a full recovery from HUS.

What Is the Outlook for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

HUS is potentially an extremely severe condition. Nevertheless, you are likely to make a full recovery if you are diagnosed in the early phases of the condition and start treatment right away. Call your medical professional anytime you develop signs that you are worried about.

How Can You Prevent Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?

The most typical reason for HUS is infections by E. coli. Although you can not prevent these germs completely, you can minimize your risk of infection by:

  • washing your hands frequently.
  • thoroughly washing utensils.
  • keeping food preparation surfaces clean.
  • keeping raw food different from ready-to-eat food.
  • defrosting meat in the fridge instead of on the counter.
  • not leaving meat at space temperature (this can cause microbial growth).
  • cooking meat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate harmful bacteria.
  • cleaning vegetables and fruits thoroughly.
  • not swimming in infected water.
  • preventing intake of unpasteurized juice or milk.


Last modified: August 5, 2016


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