What is the issue?
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) is a serious illness that primarily affects children and can have severe side effects such as anaemia (low red blood cell counts), kidney damage, brain damage, and death in some cases. HUS most commonly occurs as a complication of diarrhoeal illness caused by a particular form of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Despite the severity of this illness, there are currently no standard practices for treating these patients.
What did we do?
We summarized the available evidence that was collected to date on methods for preventing HUS in patients diagnosed with STEC-associated diarrhoea (loose bowel movements). We searched the literature for past studies looking at different treatments aimed at preventing HUS in children with diarrhoeal illness and summarized the findings in our review,
What did we find?
Four studies randomising 536 patients were included. These studies looked at four different preventative treatments including antibiotic therapy, anti-Shiga toxin antibody-containing bovine colostrum, Shiga toxin binding agent (Synsorb Pk: a silicon dioxide-based agent) and a monoclonal antibody against Shiga toxin (urtoxazumab). The included studies had small number of participants and the results did not favour any one intervention to reduce the progression of the disease to HUS in patients who were infected with STEC.
No conclusion on the best method for preventing HUS in patients with STEC-associated diarrhoea can be drawn from this data; more studies with a larger group of patients is required before any recommendation can be made.
The included studies assessed antibiotics, bovine milk, and Shiga toxin inhibitor (Synsorb Pk) and monoclonal antibodies (Urtoxazumab) against Shiga toxin for secondary prevention of HUS in patients with diarrhoea due to STEC. However, no firm conclusions about the efficacy of these interventions can be drawn given the small number of included studies and the small sample sizes of those included studies. Additional studies, including larger multicentre studies, are needed to assess the efficacy of interventions to prevent development of HUS in patients with diarrhoea due to STEC infection.
Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) is a common cause of acquired kidney failure in children and rarely in adults. The most important risk factor for development of HUS is a gastrointestinal infection by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). This review addressed the interventions aimed at secondary prevention of HUS in patients with diarrhoea who were infected with a bacteria that increase the risk of HUS.
Our objective was to evaluate evidence regarding secondary preventative strategies for HUS associated with STEC infections. In doing so, we sought to assess the effectiveness and safety of interventions as well as their potential to impact the morbidity and death associated with this condition.
We searched the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Register of Studies up to 12 November 2020 through contact with the Information Specialist using search terms relevant to this review. Studies in the Register are identified through searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE, conference proceedings, the International Clinical Trials Register (ICTRP) Search Portal and ClinicalTrials.gov.
Studies were considered based on the methods, participants, and research goals. Only randomised controlled trials were considered eligible for inclusion. The participants of the studies were paediatric and adult patients with diarrhoeal illnesses due to STEC. The primary outcome of interest was incidence of HUS.
We used standard methodological procedures as recommended by Cochrane. Summary estimates of effect were obtained using a random-effects model, and results were expressed as risk ratios (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous outcomes. Confidence in the evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.
We identified four studies (536 participants) for inclusion that investigated four different interventions including antibiotics (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole), anti-Shiga toxin antibody-containing bovine colostrum, Shiga toxin binding agent (Synsorb Pk: a silicon dioxide-based agent), and a monoclonal antibody against Shiga toxin (urtoxazumab). The overall risk of bias was unclear for selection, performance and detection bias and low for attrition, reporting and other sources of bias.
It was uncertain if trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole reduced the incidence of HUS compared to no treatment (47 participants: RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.11-2.81, very low certainty evidence). Adverse events relative to this review, need for acute dialysis, neurological complication and death were not reported.
There were no incidences of HUS in either the bovine colostrum group or the placebo group. It was uncertain if bovine colostrum caused more adverse events (27 participants: RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.42 to 2.03; very low certainty evidence). The need for acute dialysis, neurological complications or death were not reported.
It is uncertain whether Synsorb Pk reduces the incidence of HUS compared to placebo (353 participants: RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.39 to 2.22; very low certainty evidence). Adverse events relevant to this review, need for acute dialysis, neurological complications or death were not reported.
One study compared two doses of urtoxazumab (3.0 mg/kg and 1.0 mg/kg) to placebo. It is uncertain if either 3.0 mg/kg urtoxazumab (71 participants: RR 0.34, 95% CI 0.01 to 8.14) or 1.0 mg/kg urtoxazumab (74 participants: RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.13) reduced the incidence of HUS compared to placebo (very low certainty evidence). Low certainty evidence showed there may be little or no difference in the number of treatment-emergent adverse events with either 3.0 mg/kg urtoxazumab (71 participants: RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.18) or 1.0 mg/kg urtoxazumab (74 participants: RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.13) compared to placebo. There were 25 serious adverse events reported in 18 patients: 10 in the placebo group, and 9 and 6 serious adverse events in the 1.0 mg/kg and 3.0 mg/kg urtoxazumab groups, respectively. It is unclear how many patients experienced these adverse events in each group, and how many patients experienced more than one event. It is uncertain if either dose of urtoxazumab increased the risk of neurological complications or death (very low certainty evidence). Need for acute dialysis was not reported.