Background: Despite treatment, renal involvement in antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA)-positive vasculitis is still associated with significant long-term mortality and remains an important cause of end-stage renal failure.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a series of 61 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed ANCA-associated renal vasculitis (54.1% Wegener's granulomatosis, 23% renal-limited vasculitis, 16.4% microscopic polyangiitis, 4.9% Churg-Strauss syndrome) diagnosed between 1986 and 1997.
Results: The median creatinine level at diagnosis was 221.5 (63-762) micromol/l, i.e. 2.5 (0.7-8.6) mg/dl, 32.8% were dialysis-dependent. All patients were treated with cyclophosphamide. Remission was achieved in 87% of patients. Relapses occurred in 44.7%. The median renal disease-free interval was 62.5 (0-138) months. The estimated patient survival at 5 and 10 years was 78.3 and 62.2%, respectively. Mortality was associated with age (p = 0.04 when age limit 50 years) and advanced renal failure (p = 0.038 when compared dialysis-dependent and independent patients). Estimated renal survival time at 5 and 10 years was 69.2 and 55.8%, respectively. At the end of follow-up, 50.8% of patients were in complete remission, 31% had died. The median serum creatinine level was 137.5 (77-469) micromol/l, i.e. 1.56 (0.87-5.3) mg/dl, 24.6% of patients were on regular dialysis treatment.
Conclusion: Patient survival, relapse rate and mortality were comparable to similar reports. In view of the severity of the renal disease and the length of follow-up, renal survival was very good. Despite effective treatment, the long-term outcome of patients with ANCA-associated renal vasculitis remains unsatisfactory.