Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious blood disorder
characterized by a sudden decrease in the number of platelets, the destruction of red blood cells and kidney failure
. Hemolytic-uremic syndrome is sometimes caused by a bacterial infection, immunosuppressive drugs or anticancer medications. Familial HUS represents 5 to 10 percent of cases and is caused by an inherited deficiency. Hemolytic-uremic syndrome has been linked to E. coli
exposure, which occurs in 2 to 7 percent of individuals infected with the E. coli bacterium.
Symptoms of hemolytic-uremic syndrome are similar to a bleeding disorder, and kidney damage is usually severe. The disorder is common in infants, young children and women who are pregnant or have recently given birth.
is generally used for treatment, but if there is a diagnostic uncertainty between hemolytic-uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
(TTP) plasmapheresis is used. TTP is almost indistinguishable from HUS, except neurological symptoms may be more common in TTP.
With correct treatment more than 90 percent of HUS patients survive. Around one-third will have abnormal kidney functions for many years later, and some require long-term dialysis. The overall mortality rate for HUS is 5 to 15 percent.
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