Thrombotic microangiopathy and other glomerular disorders in the HIV-infected patient

Semin Nephrol. 2008 Nov;28(6):545-55. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2008.08.007.


Various forms of kidney disease have been related directly to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral infection, including HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), immune complex diseases, and thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). HIVAN and HIV immune complex glomerulonephritides are the most common HIV-specific nephropathies. HIV-associated TMA, although far less common, remains an important consideration. The diagnosis of TMA in HIV, which has a poorly understood pathogenesis, can be suggested by thrombocytopenia, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, and acute renal failure, but only definitively diagnosed by kidney biopsy. Not surprisingly, the incidence and prevalence of the HIV-specific entities have declined with the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy. With this decline, however, other glomerular diseases are of increasing importance in this high-risk population. The differential diagnosis of glomerular disease in an HIV-positive patient is therefore broad. Glomerular diseases seen in this population include classic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, IgA nephropathy, postinfectious glomerulonephritis, hepatitis B- and C-related glomerulonephritides, and membranous nephropathy. In addition, as the HIV-infected population ages, diabetic and hypertensive nephropathies are likely to become more prevalent. With overlapping presentations of these entities, definitive diagnosis often is difficult, necessitating kidney biopsy. As a consequence of establishing an accurate diagnosis, improved patient outcome can best be accomplished through disease-specific intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Glomerulonephritis / diagnosis
  • Glomerulonephritis / epidemiology
  • Glomerulonephritis / etiology*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / diagnosis
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / epidemiology
  • Thromboangiitis Obliterans / etiology*
  • United States / epidemiology