Volume Resuscitation and Progression to Organ Failure in Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infection in Adults

Crit Care Explor. 2021 May 18;3(5):e0423. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000423. eCollection 2021 May.


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection is associated with dysentery and the hemolytic uremic syndrome, marked by the triad of microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, acute kidney failure, and thrombocytopenia. Descriptions of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli outbreaks causing hemolytic uremic syndrome in adults are sparse, and management strategies are largely adapted from pediatric literature where aggressive fluid administration is recommended. However, these may not be ideal for adults.

Design: We present a case series of an Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli outbreak in U.S. Marine Corps recruits.

Setting: We review the clinical course, laboratory data, and fluid resuscitation used in hospitalized patients during the 2017 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli outbreak at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego.

Patients: Patients admitted to the hospital for complications from Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection. All were previously healthy men between the ages of 17 and 20 years.

Interventions: Isotonic crystalloid fluid resuscitation during the first 72 hours.

Measurements and main results: Of 244 identified cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infection, 30 required hospitalization, 15 progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome, and five required hemodialysis. Patients were admitted and given aggressive IV fluid hydration. Those who progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome received on average 8.4 L of isotonic crystalloid over the initial 72 hours, with up to 18% of body weight delivered. The six critically ill patients received a mean 12.2 L in the first 72 hours. Those who did not progress to hemolytic uremic syndrome received a mean 3.0 L of crystalloid. If oligoanuria developed, a net-even fluid balance was maintained. The amount of volume infused was not associated with improved outcomes. The patients with the highest fluid balance totals more often required dialysis than those who received less fluid. One hemolytic uremic syndrome patient developed flash pulmonary edema.

Conclusions: The aggressive IV hydration protocols (as a percentage of body weight) in the pediatric literature may not be applicable to adults diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome. A more conservative fluid strategy in adults with hemolytic uremic syndrome merits further investigation.

Keywords: Escherichia coli O157:7; Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli; Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli–associated hemolytic uremic syndrome; acute renal failure; hemolytic uremic syndrome; volume resuscitation.