BACKGROUND Severe haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in childhood can cause stroke, hemiplegia, cortical blindness, and psychomotor retardation. These outcomes are evident at the time of discharge immediately after the acute illness. Less is known about the neuropsychological outcomes of less severely affected children who recover from acute HUS.
AIMS This multicentre case control study investigated the hypothesis that children who survive an acute episode of HUS without recognisable neurological injuries have greater impairment of cognitive, academic, and behavioural functions than controls.
DESIGN Children with HUS were eligible if they had no evidence of severe neurological dysfunction when discharged from one of six Canadian hospitals. Controls had been admitted to hospital for a non-HUS illness and were matched by age, sex, first language, and socioeconomic status. All subjects underwent evaluation of behaviour, academic achievement, cognitive function, and verbal abilities using standardised tests administered by a psychometrist blinded to the case or control status.
RESULTS Ninety one case control pairs were enrolled. No important differences between patients with HUS and paired controls were evident on tests of IQ, behaviour, verbal abilities, or academic achievement. There was no increased risk of attention deficit disorder among patients with HUS. There was no correlation between the severity of acute renal failure and neuropsychological measures, although scores on some verbal ability tests were lower in those with the highest serum creatinine concentrations during illness.
CONCLUSIONS Children discharged from hospital without apparent neurological injury after an episode of acute HUS do not have an increased risk of subclinical problems with learning, behaviour, or attention.
- haemolytic uraemic syndrome
- cognitive function
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