Diagnostic Utility of Complement Serology for Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the clinical utility of a 9-analyte complement serology panel (COMS) covering complement function (CH50 and AH50), components (C3, C4), factor B (CFB), factor H, and activation markers (C4d, Bb, and soluble membrane attack complex) for the diagnosis of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS).

Methods:

Physician orders for COMS from January 19, 2015, through November 4, 2016, were reviewed. Demographic characteristics, patient diagnosis, and laboratory parameters were recorded.

Results:

There were 177 COMS orders for 147 patients. The median patient age was 44.9 years (range, 0.9-88.0 years). Common reasons for ordering COMS included monitoring and diagnosis of C3 glomerulopathy and renal dysfunction and differentiation of aHUS from other thrombotic microangiopathies (TMAs). Forty-four patients had COMS ordered for TMAs: 8 had aHUS and all had 1 or more abnormalities within the alternative pathway of complement. Although the sensitivity of this finding for the diagnosis of aHUS is 100%, the specificity is only 28%, with a positive likelihood ratio of 1.39. Patients with aHUS had lower CH50, C3, and CFB than did those with secondary non-aHUS TMA (all P<.01). A combined CFB of 20.9 mg/dL or less and CH50 of 56% or less led to sensitivity of 75% with increased specificity of 88.9% and a diagnostic odds ratio of 24.

Conclusion:

A COMS abnormality should not be interpreted in isolation. In conjunction with clinical presentation, a decrease in both CFB and CH50 may be an important clue to support the diagnosis of aHUS.

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