Background: Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections affect children and adults worldwide, and treatment remain solely supportive. Up to 15–20% of children infected by high-risk STEC (i.e., E. coli that produce Shiga toxin 2) develop hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and kidney failure (i.e., hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)), over half of whom require acute dialysis and 3% die. Although no therapy is widely accepted as being able to prevent the development of HUS and its complications, several observational studies suggest that intravascular volume expansion (hyperhydration) may prevent end organ damage. A randomized trial is needed to confirm or refute this hypothesis. Methods: We will conduct a pragmatic, embedded, cluster-randomized, crossover trial in 26 pediatric institutions to determine if hyperhydration, compared to conservative fluid management, improves outcomes in 1040 children with high-risk STEC infections. The primary outcome is major adverse kidney events within 30 days (MAKE30), a composite measure that includes death, initiation of new renal replacement therapy, or persistent kidney dysfunction. Secondary outcomes include life-threatening, extrarenal complications, and development of HUS. Pathway eligible children will be treated per institutional allocation to each pathway. In the hyperhydration pathway, all eligible children are hospitalized and administered 200% maintenance balanced crystalloid fluids up to targets of 10% weight gain and 20% reduction in hematocrit. Sites in the conservative fluid management pathway manage children as in- or outpatients, based on clinician preference, with the pathway focused on close laboratory monitoring, and maintenance of euvolemia. Based on historical data, we estimate that 10% of children in our conservative fluid management pathway will experience the primary outcome. With 26 clusters enrolling a mean of 40 patients each with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.11, we will have 90% power to detect a 5% absolute risk reduction. Discussion: HUS is a devastating illness with no treatment options. This pragmatic study will determine if hyperhydration can reduce morbidity associated with HUS in children with high-risk STEC infection. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05219110 . Registered on February 1, 2022.
- Acute kidney injury
- Bloody diarrhea
- Emergency department
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
- Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)