HUS (Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome)

Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome or HUS is serious syndrome (or collection of clinical features) consisting of a haemolytic anaemia (a low level of haemoglobin – the oxygen-carrying molecule in a red blood cell – caused by lysis or splitting open of the red blood cells), acute renal failure (where the kidneys fail to adequately filter waste products from the blood) and thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets – blood-cell fragments that are important in the production of blood clots). When the red blood cells split open, the damaged cells and the free haemoglobin, block the kidneys leading to renal failure. HUS was first described in 1955; today it is most frequently associated with diarrhoeal infection caused by VTEC. HUS is the commonest cause of acute renal failure in children.