Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and the hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP-HUS) are related and uncommon disorders with a high fatality and complication rate if untreated. Plasma exchange therapy has been shown to produce high response rates and improve survival in patients with many forms of TTP-HUS. We performed a retrospective cohort study of 178 consecutively treated patients with TTP-HUS and analyzed whether clinical or laboratory characteristics could predict for important short- and long-term outcome measures.
Overall 30-day mortality was 16% (n = 27). 171 patients (96%) received plasma exchange as the principal treatment, with a mean of 8 exchanges and a mean cumulative infused volume of 42 ± 71 L of fresh frozen plasma. The rate of complete response was 65% or 55% depending on whether this was defined by a platelet count of 100,000/μl or 150,000/μl, respectively. The rate of relapse was 18%. The Clinical Severity Score did not predict for 30-day mortality or relapse. The time to complete response did not predict for relapse. Renal insufficiency at presentation was associated with a decreased risk of relapse, with each unit increase in serum creatinine associated with a 40% decreased odds of relapse. 72% of our cohort had an idiopathic TTP-sporadic HUS, while 17% had an underlying cancer, received a solid organ transplant or were treated with a mitomycin-based therapy. The estimated overall 5-year survival was 55% and was significantly better in those without serious underlying conditions.
Plasma exchange therapy produced both high response and survival rates in this large cohort of patients with TTP-HUS. The Clinical Severity Score did not predict for 30-day mortality or relapse, contrary to our previous findings. Interestingly, the presence of renal insufficiency was associated with a decreased risk of relapse. The most important predictor of mortality was the presence or absence of a serious underlying disorder.