Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Hemolytic uremic syndrome requires treatment in the hospital. To ease immediate signs and symptoms and prevent further problems, hemolytic uremic syndrome treatment may include:

  • Fluid replacement. Lost fluid and electrolytes need to be carefully replaced because the kidneys aren't removing fluids and waste as efficiently as normal.
  • Red blood cell transfusions. If you don't have enough red blood cells, you may feel chilled, fatigued and short of breath. You may have a rapid heart rate, yellow skin and dark urine. Red blood cell transfusions, given through an intravenous (IV) needle, may help reverse these signs and symptoms.
  • Platelet transfusions. If you're bleeding or bruising easily, platelet transfusions can help your blood clot more normally. Like red blood cell transfusions, platelet transfusions are given through an IV needle.
  • Plasma exchange. Plasma is the part of blood that supports the circulation of blood cells and platelets. Sometimes a machine is used to clear the blood of its own plasma and replace it with fresh or frozen donor plasma. This process is called plasmapheresis.
  • Kidney dialysis. Sometimes dialysis is needed to filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. Dialysis is usually a temporary treatment until the kidneys begin functioning adequately again. If the kidney damage is significant, however, permanent kidney failure — requiring long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant — is possible.

Despite the severity of the condition, appropriate treatment leads to a full recovery for most people with hemolytic uremic syndrome — especially young children.

In those who have some lasting kidney damage, following a low-protein diet and taking the blood pressure lowering medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors if blood pressure is high may prevent or delay further kidney damage.

A less common type of hemolytic uremic syndrome called atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome also is treated with plasma exchange. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a medication called eculizumab (Soliris) for the treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. Eculizumab is a type of medication known as a monoclonal antibody. It prevents the continued destruction of healthy cells. However, this medication has a significant risk of serious infection. If possible, you or your child may receive the meningococcal vaccine before receiving this medication.

July 03, 2013