Background: There is limited population-based epidemiological data on renal disease. An insight into the spectrum of clinically significant glomerulonephritis can be obtained from renal biopsy diagnoses. This is a descriptive report of biopsy-proven glomerulonephritis within a defined population.
Methods: A retrospective review of the pathology reports of all native renal biopsies performed in the Australian state of Victoria in 1995 and 1997 was undertaken. Trends in the average annual age- and sex-specific incidence rates for biopsy-proven glomerulonephritis were calculated. Comparisons were made with the incidence of end-stage renal disease due to glomerulonephritis confirmed on renal biopsy.
Results: The most common glomerulonephritides in adults are IgA disease, focal glomerulosclerosis, lupus nephritis and vasculitis, and in children are lupus nephritis, focal glomerulosclerosis, IgA disease and minimal change disease. A male predominance is seen for all glomerulonephritides, except lupus nephritis, in both adults and children. An increase in incidence of disease with age, particularly in males, is seen for vasculitis and focal glomerulosclerosis. The most common glomerulonephritides on renal biopsy are reflected in the most common causes of end-stage renal disease due to glomerulonephritis.
Conclusions: This review has provided population-based descriptive epidemiological data on clinically significant glomerulonephritis. This data provides important clues for further studies relating to the identification of risk factors for the various types of glomerulonephritis.