Background: Progressive renal failure in patients with classic Bartter's syndrome (cBS) due to inactivating mutations in CLCNKB gene is extraordinarily rare.
Discussion: We describe a 17-year-old Chinese boy who presented with progressive muscle weakness and renal failure. He was diagnosed as BS of unknown type at the age of 9 months and treated with indomethacin (2 mg/kg/day) and potassium chloride (KCl) supplementation (1.5 mEq/kg/day) for hypokalemia (2.5 mmol/l). At the age of 12 years, serum K+ was 3.0 mmol/l and creatinine reached 2.0 mg/dl. On admission, his blood pressure was normal but volume status was depleted. Urinalysis was essentially normal. Biochemical studies showed hypokalemia (K+ 2.4 mmol/l) with a high transtubular K+ gradient (TTKG) 9.6, metabolic alkalosis (HCO3- 28.4 mmol/l), normomagnesemia (2.0 mg/dl), severe renal failure (BUN 94 mg/dl, Cr 6.3 mg/dl), and hypocalciuria (urine calcium/creatinine ratio 0.02 mg/mg). Abdominal sonography revealed bilateral small size kidneys without nephrocalcinosis or renal stones. After the withdrawal of indomethacin with regular KCl and adequate fluid supplementation for 1 year, serum creatinine and K+ levels have been maintained at 4.0 mg/dl and 3.3 mmol/l, respectively. Direct sequencing of NKCC2, ROMK, ClC-Kb, and NCCT in this patient disclosed a novel homozygous missense mutation (GGG to GAG, G470E) in CLCNKB. This G470E mutation was not identified in 100 healthy Chinese subjects. Long-term therapy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prolonged hypokalemia, chronic volume depletion, and underlying genetic variety may contribute to the deterioration of his renal function. The cautious use of NSAIDs, aggressive correction of hypokalemia, and avoidance of severe volume depletion may prevent the irreversible renal damage in patients with BS due to a Cl- channel defect.