Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
(HUS)

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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 11/15/2013

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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.

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