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Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

What is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)?

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare condition that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by:

  • damage to the lining of blood vessel walls
  • destruction of red blood cells
  • kidney failure
What causes HUS?

Most cases of HUS occur after an infection in the digestive tract caused by the E. coli bacterium. Diarrhea and upper respiratory infections are the most common precipitating factors in contracting HUS. HUS is less common in adults, but may occur more often in pregnant women, women who have been taking oral contraceptives, are postpartum or having obstetric complications. E. coli may be found in contaminated food, such as dairy products and meat.

What does treatment for HUS commonly involve?

There is no known treatment that can stop the progress of the syndrome once it has started.

A treatment regimen will be established by your physician based on your individual condition. Most treatments are aimed at easing the immediate symptoms and signs of this disease and at preventing further complications. This may include any/all of the following:

  • treatment of high blood pressure
  • maintaining specific levels of fluids and salts
  • blood transfusions
  • kidney dialysis
  • medication