Background. Relatively few studies have been made of children with lupus nephritis. The prognosis of children with lupus nephritis is ominous for those with diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis and active interstitial inflammation. Up to now few studies have been made on this subject.

Objectives. To evaluate the clinical course, histopathology, and prognosis of lupus nephritis in children, to identify the risk factors for renal failure and mortality, and to share our experience in treating lupus nephritis in children.

Methods. Retrospectively, 167 children under 18 years of age with lupus nephritis at Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taiwan from 1979 to 1991 were studied. All patients received renal biopsy and follow-up biopsies were performed in 36 children. The clinical and serologic parameters at the time of renal biopsy were recorded.

Results. There were 55 (33%) patients with class II, 30 (18%) with class III, 69 (41.3%) with class IV, and 13 (7.8%) with class V nephritis based on initial biopsy. The mean follow-up time was 59 months. Follow-up biopsies were histologically stationary in 29 patients, progressive in five, and regressive in two. The results revealed that those with persistent hypertension, anemia, increased serum creatinine concentration, and decreased creatinine clearance rate at initial biopsy were more prone to develop renal failure. Low titer of CH50 hemolytic assay appeared to be a poor prognostic indicator. The overall renal and patient 5-year survival rates were 93.1% (135/145) and 91.08% (143/157), respectively. They were 87.7% (50/57) and 82% (55/67), respectively, of patients with class IV proliferative glomerulonephritis.

Conclusions. The prognosis of children with class IV nephritis in this study was better than that reported previously. All children surviving without renal failure were maintaining their normal lives with little organ dysfunction. The improved results may be due to earlier renal biopsy for precise histopathologic definition, better supportive care, and selective use of aggressive therapy, including methylprednisolone pulse therapy, intravenous cyclophosphamide, intravenous prostaglandin E1 therapy, high-dose intravenous gammaglobulin therapy, and cyclosporin A for those with high risk factors.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.