Suspected atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome in two post-partum patients with foetal-death in utero responding to eculizumab
AuthorChua, J; Paizis, K; He, SZ; Mount, P
University of Melbourne Author/sMount, Peter
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsChua, J., Paizis, K., He, S. Z. & Mount, P. (2017). Suspected atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome in two post-partum patients with foetal-death in utero responding to eculizumab. NEPHROLOGY, 22 (S1), pp.18-22. https://doi.org/10.1111/nep.12935.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare condition with the triad of microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopenia and acute kidney injury. Other conditions that present in a similar manner peri-partum include thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura, and pregnancy associated conditions including HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets), severe pre-eclampsia and less commonly acute fatty liver of pregnancy. CASE REPORTS: We describe two cases of suspected aHUS, who presented post-partum with foetal death-in-utero at 33 and 37 weeks respectively. Both presented with the triad features of aHUS but had considerably different clinical courses. The first case required a prolonged ICU admission, needed intubation for neurological deterioration and dialysis for acute kidney injury, and developed complications including acute liver failure, septic shock, pancreatitis, and ischaemic colitis. Initial ADAMSTS13 activity was borderline-low (10.3%) and normal on repeat testing (42.6%), and there was no peri-partum pre-eclampsia. The other case remained clinically stable throughout her admission with creatinine peaking at 495, not requiring dialysis, minor liver transaminases derangement and was discharged after a week. Her ADAMSTS13 activity was normal (62%), and her pregnancy was complicated by peri-partum pre-eclampsia. Both eventually had a reduction in haemolysis with rapid and sustained reduction in LDH and normalised platelet counts, and complete recovery of renal function whilst receiving eculizumab therapy. CONCLUSIONS: It can be difficult to distinguish aHUS from other causes in peri-partum patients presenting with features of microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopenia and acute kidney injury, and often, aHUS can be precipitated by pregnancy. In the setting of the clinical urgency to treat aHUS early with eculizumab, this presents a diagnostic challenge, as confirmatory tests for aHUS are not immediately available.
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