BACKGROUND: Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare and heterogeneous disorder. The first line treatment of aHUS is plasma therapy, but in the past few years, the recommendations have changed greatly with the advent of eculizumab, a humanized monoclonal anti C5-antibody. Although recent recommendations suggest using it as a primary treatment for aHUS, important questions have arisen about the necessity of immediate use of eculizumab in all cases. We aimed to draw attention to a specific subgroup of aHUS patients with rapid disease progression and high mortality, in whom plasma therapy may not be feasible.
METHODS: We present three pediatric patients of acute complement-mediated HUS with a fatal outcome. Classical and alternative complement pathway activity, levels of complement factors C3, C4, H, B and I, as well as of anti-factor H autoantibody and of ADAMTS13 activity were determined. The coding regions of CFH, CFI, CD46, THBD, CFB and C3 genes were sequenced and the copy number of CFI, CD46, CFH and related genes were analyzed.
RESULTS: We found severe activation and consumption of complement components in these patients, furthermore, in one patient we identified a previously not reported mutation in CFH (Ser722Stop), supporting the diagnosis of complement-mediated HUS. These patients were not responsive to the FFP therapy, and all cases had fatal outcome.
CONCLUSION: Taking the heterogeneity and the variable prognosis of atypical HUS into account, we suggest that the immediate use of eculizumab should be considered as first-line therapy in certain small children with complement dysregulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health