Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

HUS occurs when a toxic substance is released into your bloodstream and destroys red blood cells. This causes bleeding, blood clots, and kidney damage.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Left untreated, HUS can cause kidney failure. HUS may lead to life-threatening problems. Blood clots may block small blood vessels and affect other parts of your body. Blocked intestines, muscle destruction, and swelling of the pancreas may occur. Long-term effects of HUS may include high blood pressure and uremia (too much nitrogen in the body).

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out. Caregivers will remove the catheter as soon as possible to help prevent infection.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Intake and output:

Caregivers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask how much liquid you should drink each day. Ask caregivers if they need to measure or collect your urine.

Weight:

You may be weighed each day. Caregivers compare your weight from day to day to record how much body fluid you have. You can become dehydrated if you lose too much. You can have shortness of breath or swelling in your legs if you retain too much.

Medicines:

  • Anticonvulsant medicine: This medicine is given to control seizures. Take this medicine exactly as directed.

  • Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: Your blood is tested for signs of kidney damage or infection.

  • Urine test: Your urine is tested for signs of kidney damage. You may also need to collect all of your urine for 24 hours for testing. This longer test gives more detailed information about your kidney function.

  • Bowel movement sample: A sample of your bowel movement is tested for the germ that is causing your illness. This helps caregivers decide the best medicine to treat you.

  • Percutaneous kidney biopsy: A percutaneous kidney biopsy is when a very small piece of your kidney is taken out and tested. For this procedure, you will need to lie face-down and hold very still. You may get medicine to help you relax before the biopsy. You may also get medicine to make the area numb (lose feeling) before the needle is put in. Caregivers put a needle into your back and through to your kidney. The needle has a sharp edge that will cut out a tiny piece of your kidney. The needle may have to be put in two or more times. After the needle is taken out, a bandage will be put over the area.

  • Renal ultrasound: This is a test using sound waves to look at your kidneys. Pictures of your kidneys show up on a TV-like screen. A renal ultrasound can show if you have kidney stones, an abscess, or other problems.

Treatment:

Your treatment may change if your health problem is not being controlled. This is often decided after you have tests. You may need any of the following:

  • Blood transfusion: You will get whole or parts of blood through an IV during a transfusion. Blood is tested for diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, to be sure it is safe.

  • Dialysis: Dialysis cleans your blood when your kidneys cannot. Extra water, chemicals, and waste products are removed from your blood by a dialyzer or dialysis machine. The dialysis machine does this by passing your blood through a special filter, then returning it back to you. You may need dialysis for a short time, or for the rest of your life. Caregivers will check your vital signs often during dialysis. You may also be given medicines or have blood taken for lab tests during dialysis.

  • Plasma exchange: Blood is drawn through an IV. A machine separates the plasma from your blood cells. Your plasma is then taken out and replaced by donor plasma or albumin. The blood cells, together with the replacement plasma or albumin, are then put back into your body through the IV.

  • Kidney transplant: You may need a kidney transplant if you have kidney failure.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (Inpatient Care)

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