Background: Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the least studied of the causes of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, and there are few specific guidelines for treatment.
Aim: To review data from five UK renal units to investigate whether adult patients with FSGS were treated uniformly, and to examine the effect of treatment on proteinuria and survival.
Design: Retrospective record review.
Methods: We examined electronic records of patients with idiopathic FSGS for information on baseline clinical parameters, treatment regimens and outcomes.
Results: Of 136 patients with primary FSGS and nephrotic range proteinuria, 76 (56%) were treated with prednisolone and of this group, 59% were treated with additional immunosuppression. Among the treated patients, the total remission rate (complete and partial) was 67%, and one hospital achieved a remission rate of 80%. Treated patients had a significantly higher remission rate than those who were not treated. Remission was associated with a 5-year survival off dialysis of 94%, compared with 53% if remission was not achieved. Baseline serum creatinine and remission were independently associated with survival off dialysis in a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model.
Discussion: Patients with primary FSGS and nephrotic range proteinuria, who are treated with corticosteroids, are more likely to enter remission than those who are not treated. Remission rates of up to 80% can be achieved with prolonged treatment, and remission is an independent predictor of survival off dialysis. Patients who do not achieve remission have a poor prognosis. Further clarification of optimal treatment regimens requires additional, prospective studies.