Background: Hemolytic uremic syndrome associated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 has been widely known as a common cause of acute renal failure in children. There are only a few reports of sporadic Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli-hemolytic uremic syndrome in adults in the USA. Analyses from the 2011 outbreak of hemolytic uremic syndrome associated with Escherichia coli O104:H4 reported that mortality rates are highest in those patients with age >60-years old. Therefore, recognizing Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli-hemolytic uremic syndrome in older people can help early introduction of the appropriate therapy. Case presentation: We describe an 86-year-old Caucasian woman, initially treated as suspected thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, with worsening neurological and renal functions despite plasmapheresis (plasma exchange). A subsequent normal ADAMTS13 activity level and positive stool sample for Escherichia coli O157:H7 confirmed the diagnosis of Shiga toxin-associated hemolytic uremic syndrome. We shifted our management towards aggressive supportive care. Despite conventional treatment, hemolytic uremic syndrome unfortunately led to her death. Conclusions: Our case demonstrates the importance of recognizing Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli-hemolytic uremic syndrome as an etiology of microangiopathic hemolytic anemia in older people. According to the current literature, supportive care is the best approach for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli-hemolytic uremic syndrome. Therapies such as plasma exchange and eculizumab (a complement inhibitor) are not shown to be effective in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli-hemolytic uremic syndrome. There is a dire need to continue research to find better treatment options in this disease entity with a high mortality, particularly in older people.
- Case report
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