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Alternative namesGlomerulonephritis - post-streptococcal; Post-infectious glomerulonephritis
DefinitionPost-streptococcal GN is a disorder of the kidneys. It involves inflammation of the glomeruli after infection with certain strains of the streptococcus bacterium.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsPost-streptococcal glomerulonephritis is now an uncommon form of glomerulonephritis . It is the result of an infection, not of the kidneys, but of a remote site such as the skin or pharynx, with a specific type of Group A hemolytic streptococcus bacterium.
As a consequence of trapping immune complexes (formed from streptococcal antigen , antibodies , and complement ) in the glomeruli of the kidneys, the glomeruli become inflamed, causing inefficient filtering and excreting function by the kidneys. Protein and blood may be present in the urine, and excess fluid commonly accumulates in the body. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is usually present.
Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis now occurs less frequently because infections which may make a person vulnerable to the disorder are commonly treated with antibiotics. The disorder may develop 1 to 2 weeks after an untreated throat infection, or 3 to 4 weeks after a skin infection. It may occur in people of any age, especially children 6 to 10 years old. Although skin and throat infections are not uncommon in children, post-infectious GN is a rare complication of these infections.
Risk factors include having a recent history of sore throat , strep throat , streptococcal skin infections (such as impetigo ), and other streptococcal infections.
Signs and testsAn examination shows edema, especially of the face. Generalized, peripheral, or dependent edema may also appear. Circulatory congestion is common, with associated abnormal sounds heard when listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope ( auscultation ). The blood pressure is often high.
TreatmentThere is no specific treatment for post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Treatment is focused on relief of symptoms.
Antibiotics, such as penicillin, should be used to destroy any streptococcal bacteria that remain in the body. Antihypertensive medications and diuretic medications may be needed to control swelling and high blood pressure. Corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory medications are generally not effective.
Dietary salt restriction may be necessary to control swelling and high blood pressure.
Expectations (prognosis)Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis usually resolves spontaneously after several weeks to months. In a minority of adults, it may progress to chronic renal failure.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms indicate post-streptococcal GN may be present.
If you have experienced post-streptococcal GN, call your health care provider if decreased urine output or other new symptoms occur.
PreventionAdequate treatment of known streptococcal infections may prevent post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Update Date: 1/19/2004Irfan A. Agha, M.D., Department of Medicine, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT