Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is severe lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation. When this happens, the risk of dying is extremely high, particularly because kidney failure and damage to other organs often accompany this condition.
If the patient lives, hospitalization and rehabilitation can be months long. In addition, patients almost always suffer permanent physical, mental, and emotional damage.
Tragically, many of these patients do not survive. A family is left to grieve the loss, all because a company sold food that was contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
Complications of ARDS
Complications include those associated with mechanical ventilation:
- tracheal stenosis, vocal cord dysfunction
- ventilator-associated pneumonia
- stress-related gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- cardiac arrhythmias
- myocardial dysfunction
- barotrauma (pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, pneumoperitoneum, air embolism)
- mechanical damage from central line placement.1,2
Resources: 1. Russell, James and Walley, Keith, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Cambridge University Press (1999), p. 257.
2. Mortelliti, M.D., Michael and Manning, M.D., Harold, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, American Family Physician (May 2002) 65(9):1823-1831.