Treatments for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in Children

How is hemolytic uremic syndrome treated?

There is no known treatment that can stop the progression of HUS once it has started.

Initially, treatment may be supportive, which means that your child's doctor will treat the symptoms. If your child shows signs of dehydration and electrolyte irregularities, these conditions will be treated first.

Other therapies may include: 

  • Intensive care - Close observation and monitoring in an intensive care unit (ICU) may be necessary.
  • Blood transfusions - Blood transfusions may be necessary to treat anemia (low red blood cell count).
  • Nutrition - Your child may require intravenous nutrition if he or she is having severe digestive tract complications.
  • Dialysis - Dialysis may be required in up to half of all children who develop HUS. Dialysis is a medical procedure to remove wastes and additional fluid from the blood after the kidneys have stopped functioning.
  • Medication - Medications may be required to treat your child's blood pressure, which may be elevated.

Can hemolytic uremic syndrome be prevented?

  • Completely cooking all foods that may contain hamburger meat can prevent HUS that is caused by E. coli.
    • About 2 percent to 7 percent of children with an E. coli infection are likely to develop HUS.
    • Other possible sources of E. coli include unpasteurized juices or milk.

If your child has HUS, it's important to notify your daycare center or your child's other close contacts (such as play groups and school). HUS isn't contagious, but spread of the E. coli bacterium is contagious.