Background: The incidence of recurrence of haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS) in renal allografts appears to vary by centre, with the highest rates reported from the University of Minnesota. It is possible that the high rate of HUS recurrence at this institution reflects a transplant population skewed towards patients with a form of HUS that is more likely to recur in the allograft.
Methods: This study examined whether the initial episode of HUS in the native kidneys was preceded by a diarrhoeal prodrome ('classical HUS') or not ('atypical HUS'), and evaluated transplant outcomes in 24 patients who received 36 transplants at the University of Minnesota between 31 May 1972 and 31 December 1994.
Results: Eighteen of the 24 patients had atypical HUS, three had classical HUS, and in three patients the presence or absence of a diarrhoeal prodrome could not be determined. Recurrent HUS, defined as microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopenia, renal insufficiency, and allograft biopsy findings compatible with HUS, occurred 16 times in 14 grafts in 11 patients. Nine of these patients had atypical HUS, one had classical HUS, and in one the nature of the prodrome could not be determined. Eleven of the 14 initial recurrences took place within 2 months of transplant. Recurrence was not more frequent in patients who received cyclosporin or antilymphocyte preparations. Actuarial analysis using matched controls showed poorer graft survival in patients with a primary diagnosis of HUS (P = 0.007), due to the high frequency of graft loss in HUS patients with recurrence.
Conclusion: Based upon these data and a review of the literature, it can be concluded that the risk of recurrence of HUS in the allograft is confined almost entirely to patients with atypical forms of HUS.