Pediatric Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
Pediatric hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) occurs when tiny tubes in the kidneys become clogged with damaged red blood cells, impairing kidney function.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a condition that causes damaged red blood cells to clog tiny tubes in the kidney, called glomeruli. In healthy kidneys, glomeruli, separate waste and clean the blood. When they become clogged, they do not function properly, which can lead to kidney injury.
A strain of E. coli bacteria produces toxins that enter the bloodstream and destroy red blood cells. By the time blood reaches the kidneys, the damaged red blood cells clog the glomeruli. This causes the kidneys to not clean blood effectively and begin to fail.
The first symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome are vomiting and diarrhea. After five to 10 days, children will show additional signs of HUS, as bacteria continues to damage the blood. These symptoms include:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Decreased or no urination
- Pale skin
- Seizures (rare symptom)
- Swelling of the face, hands, feet or any other part of the body as the body retains fluid
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Weakness and lethargy (extreme exhaustion)