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haemolytic uraemic syndrome


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A condition in which sudden rapid destruction of red blood cells (see haemolysis) causes acute renal failure due partly to obstruction of small arteries in the kidneys. The haemolysis also causes a reduction in the number of platelets, which can lead to severe haemorrhage. The syndrome may occur as a result of septicaemia following a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection (especially by pathogenic Escherichia coli), eclamptic fits in pregnancy (see eclampsia), or as a reaction to certain drugs. There may also be small sporadic outbreaks of the condition without any obvious cause.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.


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