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Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

A type of E. coli bacteria produces toxins that can destroy the red blood cells and block the kidneys’ filtering system
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a condition where the red blood cells are destroyed, abnormally. This leads to clogging of the kidney’s filtering system and leads to kidney failure. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is seen both in children and adults suffering from diarrhea which is caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. E. coli bacteria‰Ûªs infection is a serious condition, however timely treatment helps in complete recovery of the affected.

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

CAUSES

Majorly, the E coli bacteria (E. coli O157:H7) is considered to cause Hemolytic uremic syndrome. Other causes for Hemolytic uremic syndrome include medications and HIV/AIDS infections. There are also some uncommon types that can be passed down genetically to children.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of Hemolytic uremic syndrome include bloody diarrhea, decreased urination or blood in the urine, abdominal pain, vomiting and occasionally fever, pallor, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, fatigue and irritability, confusion or seizures, high blood pressure, and swelling of the face-hands- feet or entire body.

RISK FACTORS & COMPLICATIONS

The risk of developing Hemolytic uremic syndrome is greatly seen in children under 5 years and above, and in people who are over 75. The complications of Hemolytic uremic syndrome include kidney failure (acute or chronic), high blood pressure, stroke, coma, intestinal problems, such as inflammatory colitis and heart problems.

TESTS & DIAGNOSIS

After taking note of the symptoms (bloody diarrhea, decreased urination or blood in the urine, Abdominal pain and others), your doctor may recommend for specialized tests. These include blood test to reveal a low platelet count, urine test to detect abnormal levels of protein and infection in the urine, and stool test to detect toxin producing E. coli.

TREATMENTS

To ease signs and symptoms and to prevent further problems, your doctor may recommend certain treatments, undertaken on immediate basis. These treatments include fluid replacement, red blood cell transfusion, platelet transfusions, plasma exchange and kidney dialysis. The right type of treatment at the appropriate time helps in early recovery of children and adults affected by Hemolytic uremic syndrome. Prevention of this syndrome is made possible by the meningococcal vaccine before receiving any medication.