Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a condition characterized by destruction
of red blood cells, low platelet count, and kidney failure.
There are two types of HUS. Typical HUS follows a diarrheal infection often caused by E. coli OH157:H7. Atypical HUS is not associated with an infection of the digestive tract and has a less favorable outcome.
Symptoms of HUS include vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody), weakness, lethargy,
and bruising (purpura). These symptoms are due to a combination of dehydration,
anemia (due to the
destruction of red blood cells and low platelet counts), and uremia (the inability of the kidneys to clear waste products from the
Diagnosis of HUS is made by a combination of history, physical exam, and abnormal
blood tests. There is no one test that makes the diagnosis of hemolytic uremic
Treatment of HUS is supportive with intravenous fluids. Anemia may require blood
transfusion and temporary dialysis may be necessary
to help treat kidney failure.
What is a "syndrome?"
In medicine, a syndrome is defined as a collection of symptoms (patient
complaints), signs (findings on physical examination), and laboratory or imaging
findings that tend to group together and be associated with a specific disease
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 11/15/2013
Escherichia coli, or E. coli for short, is a very common bacterium. There are
hundreds of different strains of E. coli. Some are harmless while others cause
serious illness. Non-pathogenic strains of E. coli -- those that do not cause
disease -- are normal inhabitants of the intestinal tract in humans and animals.
But certain strains of E. coli can cause severe diarrhea and infect the genital
and urinary tracts.