Nephrology and Urology

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What Is a Syndrome ?

The definition of a syndrome in medicine is a collection of symptoms (patient complaints), signs (findings on physical examination), and laboratory or imaging findings that tend to group together and be associated with a specific disease or illness.

What Is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)?

HUS is a rare condition that can lead to kidney failure in children. Kidney failure develops as a result of destruction of the small, functional structures and vessels inside the kidney. HUS is a serious illness and potentially fatal.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome ?

The following are the most common symptoms of HUS. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.

The initial symptoms of HUS frequently last from one to 15 days and may include symptoms in the digestive tract such as the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody or watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Severe problems in the bowel and colon may develop in some cases. In these cases, even if the digestive symptoms are no longer present,

a child may still exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Small, unexplained bruises visible in the lining of the mouth
  • Pale skin
  • Dehydration

How Is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Diagnosed ?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hemolytic may include:

  • Blood tests (to assess blood cell counts, electrolytes, and kidney function)
  • Urine tests (to check for blood and protein)
  • Stool tests (to assess for blood)
  • Abdominal x-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

How Is HUS Treated ?

Treatments, which consist of maintaining normal salt and water levels in the body, are aimed at easing the immediate symptoms and preventing further problems. A child may need a transfusion of red blood cells delivered through an intravenous, or IV, tube. In severe cases, several sessions of dialysis, a blood-cleansing treatment, may be required to temporarily take over the kidneys’ job of filtering wastes and extra fluid from the blood.

Some children may sustain significant kidney damage that slowly develops into permanent kidney failure and will then require long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant. Some studies suggest that limiting protein in the child’s diet and treating high blood pressure with a medicine from a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors helps delay or prevent the onset of permanent kidney failure. Most children recover completely with no long-term consequences.

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