Background: Renal involvement is frequently present in antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA)-associated systemic vasculitis and is an important cause of end-stage renal failure (ESRF).
Methods: This retrospective, multicenter, sequential cohort study reports presenting features and outcome of 246 new patients diagnosed in London, UK, between 1995 and 2000.
Results: Diagnostic subgroups were microscopic polyangiitis, 120 patients (49%); Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), 82 patients (33%); renal-limited vasculitis, 33 patients (13.5%); and Churg-Strauss angiitis, 11 patients (4.5%). Median age was 66 years, 57% were men, and median creatinine level at presentation was 3.87 mg/dL (342 micromol/L). ANCA was present in 92%. Cumulative patient survival at 1 and 5 years was 82% and 76%, respectively. Mortality was associated with age older than 60 years (P < 0.001), development of ESRF (P < 0.001), initial creatinine level greater than 2.26 mg/dL (200 micromol/L; P = 0.01), and sepsis (P < 0.048). ESRF occurred in 68 patients (28%), of whom 47% died. Fifty-six patients who presented with a creatinine level greater than 5.65 mg/dL (500 micromol/L) survived, and 31 patients (55%) achieved dialysis independence. Relapse occurred in 34% after a median of 13 months and was more common in patients with WG (P = 0.048) and proteinase 3-ANCA (P = 0.034). Leukopenia occurred in 41% and was associated with sepsis (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Mortality and morbidity of ANCA-associated systemic vasculitis are improving compared with previous series, but remain high. Renal vasculitis often affects older patients, who have a particularly poor outcome. Early diagnosis improves outcome. Leukopenia, caused by immunosuppressive therapy, should be avoided because of the close association with sepsis and death.