Home About us Current issue Ahead of Print Back issues Submission Instructions Advertise Contact Login   

Search Article 
Advanced search 
Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
Users online: 471 Home Bookmark this page Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font size Increase font size 

Table of Contents   
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1210-1216
Follow-up study of post-infectious glomerulonephritis in adults: Analysis of predictors of poor renal outcome

Department of Nephrology, Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication10-Nov-2014


Post-infectious glomerulonephritis (PIGN) still remains one of the most common glomerulonephritis in the developing world. We studied the epidemiology and clinical spectrum of PIGN in adults to identify the clinical, biochemical and histological factors that would predict renal outcome. Data of 102 adult PIGN patients treated between 2009 and 2011 with a mean fol­low-up of 12 months (6-36 months) were analyzed retrospectively. The mean age of the patients was 32.7 ± 15 years, with a male to female ratio of 1.2:1. At presentation, 99% of the patients had edema and oliguria, 73% had hypertension, 55% had macrohematuria and 60% had nephrotic range proteinuria. About 14% presented with complications (pulmonary edema-6%, seizure-1%, dialysis requiring renal failure-7%) and 9% had comorbid illness. Sixty percent of the patients had serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at presentation, which was persistent in 30% at the end of one week and 68% had hypo-complementemia. Renal biopsy revealed diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis in 70% of the patients. At 12 months, 2% had persistent hypertension, 10% had persistent proteinuria and hematuria and 11% had serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL. Univariate analysis with the Fischer Exact test revealed age >40 years, male gender, serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at one week, comorbid illness, requirement of dialysis, crescents in >30% glomeruli and persistent proteinuria and microscopic hematuria at 12 months as significant risk factors for poor renal outcome. Serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at one week and persistent proteinuria at 12 months were the independent risk factors that predicted poor renal outcome at one year.

How to cite this article:
Natarajan G, Ramanathan S, Jeyachandran D, Balasubramaniyan T, Srinivasa Prasad N D, Thanigachalam D. Follow-up study of post-infectious glomerulonephritis in adults: Analysis of predictors of poor renal outcome. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2014;25:1210-6

How to cite this URL:
Natarajan G, Ramanathan S, Jeyachandran D, Balasubramaniyan T, Srinivasa Prasad N D, Thanigachalam D. Follow-up study of post-infectious glomerulonephritis in adults: Analysis of predictors of poor renal outcome. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 May 28];25:1210-6. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2014/25/6/1210/144254

   Introduction Top

Post-infectious glomerulonephritis (PIGN) is an immune-mediated form of glomerulonephritis (GN) that commonly affects children after an upper respiratory or skin infection. [1],[2] Re­cently, organisms other than streptococcus, particularly staphylococcus and gram-negative bacteria, [3] have been linked to PIGN in adults, especially in developing nations. It has been widely recognized that the prognosis of PIGN is good in children. [4],[5] But, follow-up studies of biopsy-confirmed adult PIGN have observed progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in 2-34% of the patients. [6] In this study, we aimed to identify the risk factors that predict poor renal outcome.

   Materials and Methods Top

A retrospective analysis of 102 patients aged 13-70 years, diagnosed as PIGN by clinical/ biochemical or histological methods or both, during 2009-2011 with at least six months of follow-up was carried out. Patients with per­sistent low serum complement levels for more than 12 weeks, antinuclear antibody and dou­ble stranded DNA positivity at presentation or during follow-up were excluded. Clinical data including antecedent infection, comorbid ill­ness, blood pressure, symptomatology and in­vestigations such as urinalysis, urine spot pro­tein creatinine ratio, serum creatinine, com­plete blood count, serum anti-streptolysin O (ASO) titer, complement (C3, C4), microbio­logical cultures and histopathology were ana­lyzed.

Indications for renal biopsy in the study pa­tients included:

  1. Absence of any two of the following -ASO titer >200 IU/L, recent episode of infection, low serum complement levels.
  2. Presentation as rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN)/anuric renal fail­ure.
  3. Persistent renal failure (serum creatinine >2 mg/dL) at two weeks.

The renal biopsy specimen was analyzed using light microscopy and immunofluorescence.

Definition of the terms used:

  1. Nephrotic proteinuria: urine spot protein creatinine ratio >3.5.
  2. Hypertension: systolic blood pressure (SBP) >140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) >90 mm Hg.
  3. Resolution of hypertension: SBP <130 mm Hg and DBP <80 mm Hg.
  4. Resolution of proteinuria: urine spot pro­tein creatinine ratio <0.2.
  5. Resolution of hematuria: urine red blood cells (RBCs) <2/hpf
  6. Full-house immunofluorescence: presence of 2+ or more of IgG, IgM, IgA, C3 and C1q.
  7. Poor renal outcome: serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL at 12 months.

   Statistical Analysis Top

All variables were subjected to univariate analysis by the Fischer Exact test. Statistical significance was assumed at P <0.05. A linear regression model by analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed for identification of independent risk factors and the logistic re­gression analysis was employed for risk factor stratification.

   Results Top

The total number of patients included in this study was 102, with a mean follow-up of 12 months (6-36 months). Of them, 83 patients were biopsy proven (81%) and 21 (19%) were diagnosed by clinical profile and serology alone.

The mean age of the patients was 32.7 ± 15 years (13-70 years). Demographic data and associated comorbidity are given in [Table 1]. Upper respiratory tract infection was the most common antecedent infection and Streptococ­cus pyogenes was the most common organism isolated in this study. [Table 2] shows the site of infection and organisms associated with PIGN. Peak incidence was noted during the month of September and least in April. Edema and transient oliguria were universally present. About 60% had nephrotic proteinuria (mean urine PCR: 3.67), 14% presented with RPGN and 7% required hemodialysis. Clinical and laboratory data are given in [Table 3].
Table 1: Demographic data and presence of co-morbidities in the study patients.

Click here to view
Table 2: Site of infection and the organisms grown in the study patients.

Click here to view
Table 3: Clinical and laboratory data in the study patients.

Click here to view

Renal biopsy was performed in 83 patients. Crescents were present in 15 patients, of whom two had crescentic glomerulonephritis (>50% crescents). Full-house immunofluorescence was the most common pattern (25%) and IgA dominance was seen in 4%. Renal histological findings are given in [Table 4].
Table 4: Renal histological findings in the study patients.

Click here to view

Apart from symptomatic treatment with diu­retics and anti-hypertensives, 18% of the pa­tients who either presented as RPGN or had crescents in >30% glomeruli received steroid therapy. Of them, 14 patients received intrave­nous methylprednisolone pulse therapy of 500 mg/d for three days followed by oral steroids 1 mg/kg/day for four weeks and tapered over a period of two months. At the end of 12 months, persistent hypertension was seen in 2% of patients, persistent proteinuria and microhematuria in 10% and persistent renal failure (serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL) in 11%. Of 86 patients who were not requiring dialysis at presen­tation, nine (9.5%) developed chronic kidney disease (CKD) (serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL at three months). Of the seven patients who required dialysis at presentation, five (71.4%) developed CKD. Of them, only one was dialysis dependent after 12 months while the others were in varying stages of CKD. One pa­tient died of non-renal cause during follow-up. In the univariate analysis of all variables by the Fischer Exact test, age >40 years, male gender, serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at one week, comorbid illness, requirement of dia­lysis, crescents in >30% glomeruli, persistent proteinuria and microscopic hematuria at 12 months had a significant correlation (P <0.05) to serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL at 12 months. Subjecting these variables to linear regression analysis, serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at one week and persistent proteinuria at 12 months were identified as independent risk factors for poor renal outcome, as shown in [Table 5]. The probability of these factors in predicting poor renal outcome with the logistic regression mo­del was 94.7%. The site of antecedent infec­tion, type of organism, quantum of proteinuria, macrohematuria, oliguria, hypertension, hypo-complementemia at presentation and immuno-fluorescence pattern did not show statistically significant correlation with poor renal outcome.
Table 5: Linear regression model for independent risk factors.

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Miller et al observed that patients died of Bright's disease after scarlet fever in 1849. [6] Since then, infection has been known to cause GN. Recently, there have been changing trends in various aspects of infection-related GN in adults. The mean age in the present study was 32.7 years, while most other series reported the mean age of the patients to be between 40 and 50 years. [7],[8] In concurrence with Nasr et al,[9] we found that the most common site of antecedent infection was the upper respiratory tract, and the commonly identified organisms were Strep­tococcus and Staphylococcus. However, we could not identify the source of infection in 49% of our study patients.

The initial clinical presentation was similar to that described in the literature, with hyper-tension [10],[11],[12] in 74% and macrohematuria in 56% of the patients. Complications like pul­monary edema and hypertensive encephalopathy were present in 7% of the patients. Roy et al [13] noticed cerebral complications of hyper­tension including headaches, seizures, mental status changes and visual changes in 30% of the children. The occurrence of nephrotic range proteinuria and low C3 levels were 14- 60% and 43-74%, respectively, in various studies. [7],[12],[14] Acute kidney injury at presen­tation was documented in 60%. In elderly pa­tients with debilitating conditions, azotemia was seen in 60%, congestive heart failure in 40% and nephrotic syndrome in 20% of the patients studied. [15] Only 9% of the patients had comorbidities; of them, diabetes was present in three in contrast to other studies where comorbidities like alcoholism, diabetes, drug addiction and obstructive lung disease were present in 38-54% of the patients. [7],[9],[16] Six of nine patients (66%) who had co-morbid illness progressed to CKD in our study. Mazzucco et al [17] found that PIGN accounted for 9.4% of the cases of non-diabetic glomerular disease in type 2 diabetes.

On renal biopsy, diffuse proliferative GN (70%) was the predominant lesion. Montseny et al [7] found endocapillary GN in 58%, crescentic GN in 34% and membranoproliferative GN in 7% of their patients. In our study, full-house immunofluorescence was seen in 25%, im­plying the role of the classical complement pathway also in addition to the alternate pathway. [18],[19] IgA-dominant immunofluorescence was present in three patients, of whom one had diabetes and staphylococcal infection. IgA-dominant PIGN is a recently recognized morphologic variant that typically occurs in association with staphylococcal infection, commonly seen in elderly and diabetics. [20],[21] Staphylococcal enterotoxins behave as super antigens that can bind directly to major histo-compatibility complex class II molecules, re­sulting in massive T cell activation with sub­sequent cytokine burst and immune complex formation. [22] Presence of culture-documented staphylococcal infection, hypo-complementemia, endocapillary proliferation with exudetes and sub-epithelial humps on electron microscopy [23],[24] helps to differentiate from IgA nephropathy.

In this study, steroid therapy was used in 18% of patients. The role of steroids in the treatment of PIGN is controversial. [25],[26] Gene­rally, it requires only supportive treatment, but corticosteroids or cytotoxic agents might have a role if disease progresses despite eradication of the causative organism as well as in crescentic glomerulonephritis. [27]

On follow-up, resolution of hypertension occurred earlier than proteinuria and micros­copic hematuria, and almost 90% had complete resolution by 6-12 months. Baldwin et al [28] and Chugh et al [29] published long-term follow-up of patients with post-streptococcal glomerulo-nephritis for 60 months and 4.5 years, respec­tively. Irreversible renal disease, as evidenced by hypertension (42%), proteinuria (42%), decreased renal function (38%) or glomerulosclerosis (10%), was reported by the former and persistent hypertension (15%), ESRD (1.9%) and chronic renal failure (3.8%) were observed in the latter study. Only 2% had persistent hypertension in this study. Moroni et al [12] demonstrated persistent urinary abnormalities in 37%, chronic renal insufficiency in 27% and ESRD in 10% after a follow-up of 7.5 years, whereas it was 10%, 11% and 1%, respectively, in this study. Compared with the available literature, renal outcome in our co­hort was better, and this may be due to the younger age of our patients, absence of signi­ficant co-morbidities and a shorter duration of follow-up. Risk factors for the progression to CKD include age >40 years, male gender, comorbid illness, requirement of dialysis, >30% crescents on renal biopsy, serum creatinine >2 mg/dL at one week and persistent proteinuria at 12 months, of which the last two factors were found to be independent risk factors.

The long-term prognosis of PIGN in adults is not uniformly good. Hence, it is worthwhile to follow-up periodically all the patients and, in particular, older patients and those with co-morbidities for the occurrence of CKD.

Conflict of interest: Nil

   References Top

Rammelkamp CH, Weaver RS. Acute glomerulonephritis: The significance of the variation in the incidence of the disease. J Clin Invest 1953;32:346-58.  Back to cited text no. 1
Poon-King T, Mohammed I, Cox R, et al. Recurrent epidemic nephritis in South Trinidad. N Engl J Med 1967;277:728-33.  Back to cited text no. 2
Nasr SH, Fidler ME, Valeri AM, et al. Post-infectious glomerulonephritis in the elderly. J Am Soc Nephrol 2011;22:187-95.  Back to cited text no. 3
Popovic-Rolovic M, Kostic M, Antic-Peco A, Jovanovic O, Popovic D. Medium and long term prognosis of patients with acute post streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Nephron 1991;58:393-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rodriguez-Iturbe B, Musser JM. The current state of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. J Am Soc Nephrol 2008;19:1855-64.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kanjanabuch T, Kittikowit W, Eiam-Ong S. An update on acute post-infectious glomerulonephritis worldwide. Nat Rev Nephrol 2009;5: 259-69.  Back to cited text no. 6
Montseny JJ, Meyrier A, Kleinknecht D, Callard P. The current spectrum of infectious glomerulonephritis. Experience with 76 patients and review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore) 1995;74:63-73.  Back to cited text no. 7
Srisawat N, Aroonpoonsub L, Lewsuwan S, et al. The clinicopathology and outcome of post-infectious glomerulonephritis: Experience in 36 adults. J Med Assoc Thai 2006;89:157-62.  Back to cited text no. 8
Nasr SH, Markowitz GS, Stokes MB, Said SM, Valeri AM, D'Agati VD. Acute postinfectious glomerulonephritis in the modern era: Experience with 86 adults and review of the literature. Medicine (Baltimore) 2008;87:21-32.  Back to cited text no. 9
Travis LB, Dodge WF, Beathard GA, et al. Acute glomerulonephritis in children. A review of the natural history with emphasis on prognosis. Clin Nephrol 1973;1:169-81.  Back to cited text no. 10
Helal I, Kaaroud H, Goucha R, Ben Moussa F, Ben Maiz H, Kheder A. The Pattern of histologically-proven acute post-infectious glomerulonephritis in Tunisian adults seen in 1976-2004. Arab J Nephrol Transplant 2012; 2:93-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Moroni G, Pozzi C, Quaglini S, et al. Long-term prognosis of diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis associated with infection in adults. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2002;17:1204-11.  Back to cited text no. 12
Roy S 3rd, Pitcock JA, Etteldorf JN. Prognosis of acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis in childhood: Prospective study and review of the literature. Adv Pediatr 1976;23:35-69.  Back to cited text no. 13
Vogl W, Renke M, Mayer-Eicherger D, Bohle A. Longterm prognosis for endocapillary glomerulonephritis of poststreptococcal type in children and adults. Nephron 1986;44:58-65.  Back to cited text no. 14
Melby PC, Musik WD, Luger AM, Khanna R. Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis in the elderly: Report of a case and review of the literature. Am J Nephrol 1987;7:235-40.  Back to cited text no. 15
Keller CK, Andrassy K, Waldherr R, Ritz E. Postinfectious glomerulonephritis is there a link to alcoholism? Q J Med 1994;87:97-102.  Back to cited text no. 16
Mazzucco G, Bertani T, Fortunato M, et al. Different patterns of renal damage in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A multicentre study on 393 biopsies. Am J Kidney Dis 2002;39:713-20.  Back to cited text no. 17
Gewurz H, Pickering RJ, Good RA. Com­plement and complement component activities in diseases associated with repeated infections and malignancy. Int Arch Appl Immunol 1968;33:368-88.  Back to cited text no. 18
Levy M, Sich M, Pirotzky E, Habib R. Complement activation in acute glomerulonephritis in children. Int J Pediatr Nephrol 1985;6:17-24.  Back to cited text no. 19
Satoskar AA, Nadasdy G, Plaza JA, et al. Staphylococcus infection-associated glomerulonephritis mimicking IgA nephropathy. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2006;1:1179-86.  Back to cited text no. 20
Nasr SH, D'Agati VD. IgA-Dominant Post-infectious Glomerulonephritis: A new twist on an old disease. Nephron Clin Pract 2011;119: 18-26.  Back to cited text no. 21
Koyama A, Sharmin S, Sakurai H, et al. Staphylococcus aureus cell envelope antigen is a new candidate for the induction of IgA nephropathy. Kidney Int 2004;66:121-32.  Back to cited text no. 22
Haas M. Incidental healed postinfectious glomerulonephritis: A study of 1012 renal biopsy specimens examined by electron microscopy. Hum Pathol 2003;34:3-10.  Back to cited text no. 23
Haas M, Racusen LC, Bagnasco SM. IgA-dominant postinfectious glomerulonephritis: A report of 13 cases with common ultrastructural features. Hum Pathol 2008;39:1309-16.  Back to cited text no. 24
Okuyama S, Wakui H, Maki N, et al. Success­ful treatment of post-MRSA infection glomerulonephritis. Clin Nephrol 2008;70:344-7.  Back to cited text no. 25
Kapadia AS, Panda M, Fogo AB. Post-infectious glomerulonephritis: Is there a role for steroids? Indian J Nephrol 2011;21:116-9.   Back to cited text no. 26
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Ralf A, Hebert T, Pullma J, Coco M. Crescentic post streptococcal glomerulonephritis with nephrotic syndrome in an adult: Is aggressive therapy warranted. Clin Nephrol 2005;63:375-80.  Back to cited text no. 27
Baldwin DS, Gluck MC, Schacht RG, Gallo G. The long-term course of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. Ann Intern Med 1974;80:342-58.  Back to cited text no. 28
Chugh KS, Malhotra HS, Sakhuja V, Bhusnurmath S, Singhal PC, Unni VN. Progression to end stage renal disease in post streptococcal glomerulonephritis-Chandigarh Study. Int J Artif Organs 1987;10:189-94.  Back to cited text no. 29

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dhanapriya Jeyachandran
Department of Nephrology, Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-2442.144254

Rights and Permissions


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]

This article has been cited by
1 Latency, Anti-Bacterial Resistance Pattern, and Bacterial Infection–Related Glomerulonephritis
Elenjickal Elias John, Athul Thomas, Jeethu Joseph Eapen, Sabina Yusuf, Sanjeet Roy, Anna T. Valson, Vinoi George David, Santosh Varughese, Suceena Alexander
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2021; 16(8): 1210
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 A case of IgA?dominant infection?related glomerulonephritis (IgA?IRGN) associated with osteomyelitis in which it was possible to discontinue hemodialysis
Kento Hoshino, Tsugumi Fukunaga, Ai Ueki, Yota Kobayashi, Shun Tsugawa, Arisa Naito, Yoshito Nishimura, Ayako Kuwata, Takafumi Hoshi, Jun Umetani, Yuka Miyake, Toshihiko Imakiire, Naoki Oshima
Nihon Toseki Igakkai Zasshi. 2021; 54(7): 353
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Clinicopathological Outcome in Infection Related Glomerulonephritis
Sanjay M, Gopalakrishna P
Academia Journal of Medicine. 2020; 3(1): 58
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Statistical Analysis
    Materials and Me...
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded630    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal