Context: Diarrhea-associated hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is the most common cause of acute renal failure in children. Most cases are caused by an intestinal infection with Shiga toxin-producing strains of Escherichia coli.
Objective: To determine if administration of an oral agent that binds Shiga toxin could diminish the severity of diarrhea-associated HUS in pediatric patients.
Design, setting, and patients: Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 145 children (96 experimental and 49 placebo) aged 6 months to 18 years with diarrhea-associated HUS conducted between July 27, 1997, and April 14, 2001, at 26 tertiary care pediatric nephrology centers in the United States and Canada. Trial included 2 phases, the hospital course for treatment of the acute illness and a 60-day outpatient follow-up period after discharge from the hospital.
Intervention: Patients were assigned to receive the binding agent, 500 mg/kg daily, or cornmeal placebo orally for 7 days in a 2:1 randomization scheme.
Main outcome measures: Combined frequency of death or serious extrarenal events and need for dialysis in the experimental vs placebo group.
Results: A total of 62 patients (43%) were male and 123 (85%) were white. The median age of the patients was 4.2 years. Most patients (59%) were transferred from other hospitals to participating sites. The severity of disease at the time of randomization was comparable in the 2 groups. The prevalence of death or serious extrarenal events was 18% and 20% in the experimental and placebo groups, respectively (P =.82). Dialysis was required in 42% of experimental and 39% of placebo groups (P =.86).
Conclusions: Oral therapy with a Shiga toxin-binding agent failed to diminish the severity of disease in pediatric patients with diarrhea-associated HUS.