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Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

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.

An IV

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

Intake and output

may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.

Your weight may be checked

each day. Healthcare providers 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 (hold) too much.

Medicines:

  • Anticonvulsant medicine helps control seizures.
  • Blood pressure medicine helps lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your kidneys.
  • Steroids may be given to decrease inflammation.

Tests:

  • Blood or urine tests may be used to check for signs of kidney damage or infection. 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.
  • A bowel movement sample is used to check for the germ that is causing your illness.
  • A percutaneous kidney biopsy is a procedure to take a small piece of your kidney to be tested. Healthcare providers put a needle into your back and through to your kidney.
  • Ultrasound pictures of your kidneys 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:

  • A blood transfusion is used to give whole or parts of blood through an IV.
  • Dialysis cleans your blood when your kidneys cannot. Extra water, chemicals, and waste products are removed from your blood by a machine. Your blood is passed through a filter, then returned back into your body. You may need dialysis for a short time, or for the rest of your life.
  • A plasma exchange is used to draw blood through an IV. A machine separates the plasma from your blood cells. Your plasma is then taken out and replaced with donor plasma or albumin. The blood cells, together with the replacement plasma or albumin, are then put back into your body through the IV.
  • A kidney transplant may be needed if you have kidney failure.

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).

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.