Central nervous system involvement in a child with hemolytic uremic syndrome

Pediatr Nephrol. 2000 Sep;14(10-11):990-2. doi: 10.1007/s004670050059.


We report a 20-month-old girl with postdiarrheal (Shiga toxin) hemolytic uremic syndrome and severe encephalopathy. Magnetic resonance (MR) images were obtained in the acute phase of the disease and after 10 months. The first MR images showed widespread high signal intensity on T2-weighted and low signal intensity on T1-weighted images, in deep and subcortical white matter; the splenium of the corpus callosum was also involved, as well as cerebellar hemispheres. Neurological symptoms and signs gradually disappeared within 35 days. Follow-up MR imaging showed almost complete resolution of the previous findings, and the patient recovered without central nervous system impairment. The neurological lesions were probably due to hypoxia, although several other mechanisms could be involved, such as metabolic derangements and the action of Shiga toxin. In spite of the dramatic clinical manifestations, we observed a good outcome, indicating that patients with similar lesions do not necessarily have a poor prognosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anuria / etiology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome / complications*
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Shiga Toxin / metabolism


  • Shiga Toxin