Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term prognosis of children with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Methods: Over a 6-year period, 619 pediatric patients with the clinical diagnosis of HUS were registered in Austria and Germany, and a subset (n = 274) was prospectively followed up for 5 years.
Results: Infection with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) was confirmed in 79% of cases. Five years after diagnosis, 70% of EHEC-infected patients (95% confidence interval [CI], .63-.76) were fully recovered. The remaining 30% had persistent hypertension (9%), neurological symptoms (4%), decreased glomerular filtration rate (7%), and/or proteinuria (18%). Hypertension and proteinuria developed in a total of 18% of patients who had no sequelae 1 year after the acute phase (95% CI, 12-26). Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated an association between the use of plasma therapy during acute phase and poor long-term outcome (odds ratio, 2.9-13; 95% CI, 2.4-33; P < .05), but this treatment was also used more frequently in severe cases. In contrast, the use of antibiotic therapy in the diarrheal phase and other established risk factors for developing HUS, such as Shiga toxin 2 and EHEC serotypes traditionally considered to be "high risk," were not associated with adverse long-term outcome. In particular, there was no difference between O157 and non-O157 EHEC.
Conclusions: This study identified an association between the use of plasma treatment and poor long-term outcome and confirms already known risk factors for poor prognosis. Follow-up investigations for at least 5 years are recommended to detect late-emerging sequelae.