Know the basics
What is hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a disorder that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells. Once this process begins, the damaged red blood cells start to clog the filtering system in the kidneys, which may eventually cause the life-threatening kidney failure associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Though hemolytic uremic syndrome is a serious condition, getting timely and appropriate treatment leads to a full recovery for most people — especially young children.
How common is hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
Everybody can have HUS but it is most common in children younger than 4 years old. You can minimize the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
Common symptoms of HUS include fever, nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen (belly), and high blood pressure. Less frequent or absent urination or reddish urine may occur.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences unexplained bruises, bloody diarrhea, unusual bleeding, swollen limbs, extreme fatigue or decreased urine output after several days of diarrhea. Seek emergency care if you or your child doesn’t urinate for 12 hours or more.
Know the causes
What causes hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
The usual cause is a type of bacteria called VTEC (verocyto-oxin-producing Escherichia coli). However, sometimes other gastrointestinal infections may also cause it. Besides, some people getting certain medical treatments or drugs like Quiine, immunosuppressant drugs cyclosporine and some chemotherapy drugs can also have HUS.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
Those most at risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome are:
- Children under 5 years of age
- People who have certain genetic changes that make them more susceptible
Young children and elderly adults are the most likely to be seriously ill from hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is hemolytic-uremic syndrome diagnosed?
The health care provider makes a diagnosis from a careful examination and medical history. Blood and urine samples, and maybe stool, are tested. The health care provider may order ultrasonography to check for kidney damage. This painless test uses sound waves to look at organs. Other kidney tests may be done.
How is hemolytic-uremic syndrome treated?
Treatments for HUS include:
- Medications such as corticosteroids;
- Transfusions of packed red blood cells and platelets;
- Platelet transfusions;
- Plasma exchange;
- Kidney dialysis.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hemolytic-uremic syndrome?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with HUS :
- Wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often.
- Don’t eat undercooked meat, especially ground beef. Meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 155° F or higher.
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk, juice and cider.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download Version.
Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemolytic-uremic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20029487. September 24, 2015.
Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000510.htm. September 24, 2015.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017