Pulmonary renal syndrome: a 4-year, single-center experience

Am J Kidney Dis. 2002 Jan;39(1):42-7. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2002.29876.


Pulmonary renal syndrome (PRS), defined as a combination of diffuse pulmonary hemorrhage and glomerulonephritis (GN), represents a severe syndrome for which minimal outcome data are available in the literature. We present a retrospective study of 14 consecutive patients from 1996 to 2000. Mean patient age was 65 +/- 2.1 (SEM) years, and 7 patients were women. At presentation, Po(2) on air was 6.0 +/- 0.5 kPa, and creatinine level was 554 +/- 70 micromol/L. Thirteen patients had systemic vasculitis, and 1 patient had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Five patients were cytoplasmic antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (C-ANCA) positive, and 7 patients were perinuclear ANCA (P-ANCA) positive; 2 of the latter patients also were positive for anti-glomerular basement membrane antibodies. Renal biopsy was performed in 10 patients. Histological examination showed membranous GN in the patient with SLE and segmental necrotizing crescentic GN in the other 9 patients examined. Twelve of 14 patients were initially dialysis dependent, and 8 of 14 patients required ventilatory support. All patients were treated with corticosteroids, 8 of 14 patients were administered intravenous methylprednisolone, 13 of 14 patients were administered daily cyclophosphamide, and 12 of 14 patients underwent plasma exchange. Patients were followed up for 22 +/- 9 months. Early reduction in cyclophosphamide dosage was required in 9 patients for neutropenia. Seven patients were alive at the end of follow-up, but 5 patients (36%) died in the first month. Of the survivors, 85% and 67% were alive after 1 and 2 years of completed follow-up: 83% and 75% of these survivors were dialysis independent, respectively. Five relapses were seen in 4 patients. One patient died of progressive pulmonary fibrosis. Sepsis was a major factor in 6 of 7 deaths. This patient group was older than those previously reported. Findings confirm previous suggestions that PRS requiring intensive care treatment has high mortality, and early survivors have good 1- and 2-year outcomes. Cyclophosphamide-associated neutropenia and infection were frequent contributors to death, and less toxic alternatives may improve outcome in PRS.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease / blood
  • Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease / mortality
  • Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease / therapy*
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Creatinine