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Acute nephritic syndrome

  • Definition
    • Acute nephritic syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur with some disorders that cause swelling and inflammation of the glomeruli in the kidney, or glomerulonephritis.

  • Alternative Names
    • Glomerulonephritis - acute; Acute glomerulonephritis; Nephritis syndrome - acute

  • Causes
  • Symptoms
    • Common symptoms of nephritic syndrome are:

      • Blood in the urine (urine appears dark, tea-colored, or cloudy)
      • Decreased urine output (little or no urine may be produced)
      • Swelling of the face, eye socket, legs, arms, hands, feet, abdomen, or other areas
      • High blood pressure

      Other symptoms that may occur include:

      Symptoms of acute kidney failure or chronic kidney disease may develop.

  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation in the kidney and control high blood pressure. You may need to stay in a hospital to be diagnosed and treated.

      Your provider may recommend:

      • Bedrest until you feel better with treatment
      • A diet that limits salt, fluids, and potassium
      • Medicines to control high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, or to remove fluid from your body
      • Kidney dialysis, if needed
  • Support Groups
    • You can often ease the stress of illness by joining support groups where members share common experiences and problems.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • The outlook depends on the disease that is causing the nephritis. When the condition improves, symptoms of fluid retention (such as swelling and cough) and high blood pressure may go away in 1 or 2 weeks. Urine tests may take months to return to normal.

      Children tend to do better than adults and usually recover completely. Only rarely do they develop complications or progress to chronic glomerulonephritis and chronic kidney disease.

      Adults do not recover as well or as quickly as children. Although it is unusual for the disease to return, in some adults, the disease does return and they will develop end-stage kidney disease and may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your provider if you have symptoms of acute nephritic syndrome.

  • Prevention
    • Often, the disorder cannot be prevented, although treatment of illness and infection may help to reduce the risk.

  • References
    • Appel GB, Radhakrishnan. Glomerular disorders and nephrotic syndromes. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 121.

      Nachman PH, Hennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Yu ASL, Brenner BM, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 31.