Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    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.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

Take the Blood Disorders Quiz

Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Infection Facts

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.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) facts

  • 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 body).
  • 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 syndrome.
  • 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 or illness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome - Symptoms

    Describe the symptoms you or your child experienced with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)?

    Post
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome - Treatments

    What kinds of treatment helped you or your child manage hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors