Research

Primary nephrotic syndrome in the new millennium in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

O Abumregha, E Naicker, C Connolly, R Bhimma

Abstract


Background. The outcome and response of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (NS) to steroids have been linked to race.

Objectives. To determine the age of presentation, sex, race, histopathology, kidney function and disease status at the last hospital visit and correlate these with steroid response in Indian and black African children with idiopathic NS.

Methods. This is a retrospective review of 231 children aged 1 - 14 years, who were seen at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Durban, South Africa (SA) from 2003 to 2018.

Results. The mean (standard deviation (SD)) age of presentation was 6.2 (3.4) years, with the majority of children (n=107; 46.3%) presenting at an early age (1 - 3 years) with a mean (SD) follow-up of 3.0 (2.4) years. One-hundred and twenty-one (52.4%) were males and 110 (47.6%) were females, with a male/female ratio of 1.1:1. There were 166 (71.9%) black African and 65 (28.1%) Indian children. The latter presented at a younger age than black African children (p<0.001). Seventy-six (32.9%) children were steroid sensitive (SS) and 155 (67.1%) were steroid resistant (SR). Black African children were more likely to be SR (odds ratio (OR) 2.0; p=0.02; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1 - 3.7). A kidney biopsy was performed in 209 (90.5%) children. Minimal change disease (MCD) was observed in 32 (13.9%) children and 162 (70.1%) had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Black African children were slightly more likely to have FSGS; this, however, did not reach statistical significance (122/166 (73.5%) v. 40/65 (61.5%); OR 1.73; p=0.08; 95% CI 0.94 - 3.18). On comparing disease status at last hospital visit by race, 49/65 (75.4%) Indian and 94/166 (56.6%) black African children were in remission. At last hospital visit, black African children were less likely to be in remission than Indian children (OR 0.47; p=0.02; 95% CI 0.2 - 0.9), while 15/65 (23.1%) Indian and 47/166 (28.3%) black African children had relapsed, with no significant difference between the two groups. One (1.5%) Indian child and 25 (15.1%) black African children had end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) (OR 9.27; p=0.03; 95% CI 1.2 - 70.4) ‒ the majority had FSGS. Sixteen (61.5%) received renal replacement therapy.

Conclusions. Our study shows a rising incidence of FSGS, with the majority of patients having SRNS, particularly black African children. This highlights the need for alternative efficacious therapy in the management of this disease. Also, a higher percentage of black African children with both MCD and FSGS were SS on histopathological examination, which was in keeping with reports from other regions in SA. There are still major challenges for the inclusion of all children into a chronic dialysis and transplant programme.


Authors' affiliations

O Abumregha, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban, South Africa

E Naicker, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

C Connolly, Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

R Bhimma, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Keywords

Primary nephrotic syndrome; Steroid sensitive; Steroid resistant

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(7):678-685. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i7.14319

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-07-07
Date published: 2020-07-07

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