What Causes Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?
While the root cause of many cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome cannot be determined, some medical experts believe the triggering events may include:
- E. Coli
- Pregnancy / Postpartum Depression
- Medications (chemotherapy, immunosuppressive drugs, ticlopidine, and quinine)
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome include:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Decreased urination or blood in the urine
- Abdominal pain, vomiting and occasionally fever
- Small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth
- Fatigue and irritability
- Confusion or seizures
- High blood pressure
- Swelling of the face, hands, feet or entire body
- Avoid unpasteurized milk, juice and cider.
- Wash hands well before eating and after using the restroom and changing diapers.
- Clean utensils and food surfaces often.
- Cook meat to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Defrost meat in the microwave or refrigerator.
- Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods. Don’t place cooked meat on plates previously contaminated by raw meat.
- Store meat below produce in the refrigerator to reduce the risk of liquids such as blood dripping on produce.
- Avoid unclean swimming areas. Don’t swim if you have diarrhea.
Most patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome experience almost complete recovery and nearly no risk of recurring symptoms. With careful and aggressive treatment, the risk of death from hemolytic uremic syndrome is less than 4%. However, up to 30% of children who survive the condition will be left with permanent damage to their kidneys. Children who recover usually do so quickly, while adults may experience longer recovery times since kidney damage is usually more extensive in adult cases.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is characterized by damage and destruction of the red blood cells, which leads to a lower than normal number of red blood cells (anemia), blood clots, and damage to blood vessel walls. Complications of hemolytic uremic syndrome are severe and can include:
- Hemolytic anemia and associated blood complications
- Abnormal kidney function
- Kidney failure
- Gall stones
- Elevated pancreatic enzyme levels that could lead to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
- Central nervous system disturbances such as irritability, behavior changes, disorientation, delirium, hallucinations, dizziness, and tremors
- Respiratory disease syndrome
- Heart problems, including heart attack (myocardial infarction), cardio myoptahy, cardiogenic shock, congestive heart failure
- Cortical blindness
- Thrombocytopenia (platelet deficiency in the blood)
Specific preventative measures for treating hemolytic uremic syndrome are the same as protecting yourself from an E. coli infection:
- Wash hands, utensils, and food surfaces thoroughly and often.
- Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Defrost raw meat in your microwave or refrigerator, and do not leave meat on the counter to thaw.
- Cook ground beef to at least 160 F – hamburgers should always be well-done.
- Wash fruits and vegetable under running water.
- Avoid pasteurized milk, juice, and cider.
- Avoid swimming in water potentially contaminated with feces.
Do I have a Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in hemolytic uremic syndrome lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.