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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Postoperative Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in a 67-Year-Old Woman Associated with Hemolytic Anemia, Thrombocytopenia, and Acute Renal Failure

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Arnab Chowdhury, Megan P. Griffith, Eric Busse, Ahmed Khurshid Pasha

USA Department of Hospital Medicine, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, Mankato, MN, USA

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e925662

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.925662

Available online: 2020-10-27

Published: 2020-12-08


BACKGROUND: Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) develops from uncontrolled complement activation leading to intravascular hemolysis and thrombotic microangiopathy. Atypical HUS is diagnosed by excluding a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 13 deficiency, and infection-associated HUS. Patients with atypical HUS may respond to eculizumab. We present a case of a 67-year-old woman who developed atypical HUS with hemolytic anemia, renal failure, and thrombocytopenia following an elective hip arthroplasty.
CASE REPORT: An otherwise healthy 67-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital after an elective right total hip arthroplasty. In the postoperative course, she developed vomiting and acute renal failure that was initially attributed to a prerenal cause. She continued to have worsened renal failure in spite of intravenous hydration, and she also developed mild thrombocytopenia. A peripheral blood smear was performed and showed the presence of schistocytes (red blood cell fragments) consistent with microangiopathic hemolytic anemia. In the context of anemia, thrombocytopenia, and renal failure, this finding led to a prompt and early referral to a tertiary care center and a timely diagnosis of atypical HUS. The patient underwent treatment with plasmapheresis, hemodialysis, and eculizumab.
CONCLUSIONS: This report highlights the importance of examination of the peripheral blood smear in the diagnosis of thrombotic microangiopathy. As shown in our case, the presence of schistocytes indicates the need for prompt clinical management.

Keywords: Anemia, Hemolytic, Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome, Thrombotic Microangiopathies