Focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis in rheumatoid arthritis

Lorraine Harper, Paul Cockwell, Alexander Howie, J Michael, Nicholas Richards, Caroline Savage, David Wheeler

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42 Citations (Scopus)


We report ten patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who developed a focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis (FSNGN) and extracapillary proliferation typical of vasculitic glomerulonephritis. Five patients also had extrarenal vasculitis. Renal presentation was with renal impairment (n = 9) (median creatinine 726 mumol/l, range 230-1592 mumol/l), microscopic haematuria (n = 8) and proteinuria (n = 10). Nine patients were seropositive for rheumatoid factor and nine had bone erosions. Serum from four of five patients tested by indirect immunofluorescence was positive for antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) with perinuclear staining. Only three patients had penicillamine or gold therapy. Treatment was with prednisolone and cyclophosphamide (six patients, two of whom were also plasma-exchanged), prednisolone and azathioprine (two patients) and prednisolone alone (two patients). There was a marked improvement in renal function in eight patients. Two patients with dialysis-dependent renal failure recovered renal function, although in one patient this was transient and she required further dialysis 4 months later. Two other patients progressed to dialysis at 3 months and 1 year respectively. Four patients died, one remains dialysis-dependent, and four continue to have good renal function at 5 year follow-up (median creatinine 148.5 mumol/l, range 120-193 mumol/l). One patient was lost to follow-up at 5 years. FSNGN should be considered in all patients with RA and renal impairment, proteinuria and/or microscopic haematuria. This diagnosis appears to be more likely in patients with clinical extrarenal vasculitis, bone erosions or who are seropositive. In these cases, an urgent renal biopsy is indicated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1997


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