Management of hemolytic-uremic syndrome in children
University of Calgary, Alberta Children's Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Abstract: Acute renal failure associated with a fulminant, life-threatening systemic disease is rare in previously healthy young children; however, when it occurs, the most common cause is hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). In most cases (90%), this abrupt and devastating illness is a result of ingestion of food or drink contaminated with pathogens that produce very potent toxins. Currently, there are no proven treatment options that can directly inactivate the toxin or effectively interfere with the cascade of destructive events triggered by the toxin once it gains access to the bloodstream and binds its receptor. However, HUS is self-limited, and effective supportive management during the acute phase is proven to be a life saver for children affected by HUS. A minority of childhood HUS cases, approximately 5%, are caused by various genetic mutations causing uncontrolled activation of the complement system. These children, who used to have a poor prognosis leading to end-stage renal disease, now have access to exciting new treatment options that can preserve kidney function and avoid disease recurrences. This review provides a summary of the current knowledge on the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation of childhood HUS, focusing on a practical approach to best management measures.
Keywords: hemolytic, uremic, E.coli O157:H7, thrombotic, microangiopathy, complement system
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