Pediatric Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Follow-up

Updated: May 25, 2022
  • Author: Robert S Gillespie, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Further Outpatient Care

STEC-HUS

Patients recovering from Shiga toxin–producing E coli hemolytic-uremic syndrome (STEC-HUS) should have regular follow-up until their symptoms have resolved and their hemoglobin, platelet counts, and renal function have returned to normal.

Beyond that, no consensus is noted regarding frequency of follow-up or testing required. Preliminary data suggest many survivors may have persistent, subclinical renal injury, putting them at risk for future development of hypertension, proteinuria, and/or chronic renal disease. [38]

All patients should have their blood pressure checked at each medical encounter. Patients with persistent hypertension require antihypertensives.

The authors suggest annual follow-up with a nephrologist, with consideration of annual urinalysis, urine microalbumin, serum creatinine, and fasting glucose levels on an annual basis.

Counsel patients on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, with regular exercise, healthy diet, and avoidance of tobacco and obesity. These measures are beneficial for all patients, but especially those at higher risk for future renal disease.

Atypical HUS

Patients with pneumococcal-associated hemolytic-uremic syndrome have a lower risk of recurrence and should have follow-up as outlined for STEC-HUS above.

Patients with idiopathic or genetically mediated atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome (aHUS) are at high risk for having a persistent and relapsing course, and most require more frequent and lifelong nephrology follow-up.

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Deterrence/Prevention

General preventive measures

Avoid ingestion of raw or undercooked meat.

Avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese.

Practice good hand hygiene, especially during outbreaks of diarrhea, after touching livestock, farm animals, or "petting zoo" animals. Supervise children to ensure good technique.

Avoid taking antidiarrheal or antimotility agents for diarrhea. Avoid taking antibiotics for diarrhea unless under the management of a physician.

Seek medical care immediately for bloody diarrhea.

Preventive measures for medical practitioners

Avoid antibiotic treatment of patients with possible GI E coli 0157:H7 infection, unless other clinical factors require antibiotic therapy. [36]

Use ample parenteral volume expansion with isotonic (normal) saline in patients with suspected E coli 0157:H7 infection (eg, those with bloody diarrhea). Early recognition is important.

A study has shown that early and ample rehydration with isotonic saline is associated with a lower risk of developing oligoanuric renal failure. [6] Many patients who received this therapy still developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome, but they had a less severe course, with shorter lengths of stay and fewer patients requiring dialysis. Ake et al recommend that patients with suspected E coli 0157:H7 infection be admitted for inpatient therapy, using intravenous isotonic saline for both maintenance and replacement fluid requirements, avoiding use of hypotonic fluids. The authors of this article concur with this advice. Trials of oral rehydration, normally an appropriate practice, should be avoided in this situation due to the risk of prolonged renal hypoperfusion.

Monitor fluid status, intake, and output closely because renal function may change rapidly, requiring adjustments to fluid therapy. Use potassium supplementation with great caution.

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