Background: The efficacy of tonsillectomy in immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) remains controversial. Our meta-analysis was intended to investigate its efficacy as an adjunct or independent treatment.
Study design: Meta-analysis of prospective and retrospective studies using PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.
Setting & population: Patients with IgAN treated with or without tonsillectomy.
Selection criteria for studies: Studies that compared clinical remission or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in patients with IgAN with or without tonsillectomy.
Outcomes: Clinical remission and ESRD.
Results: 14 studies (1,794 patients) were included and a random-effects model was applied. There were significantly greater odds of clinical remission with tonsillectomy (10 studies, 1,431 patients; pooled OR, 3.40; 95% CI, 2.58-4.48; P<0.001). Sensitivity analysis to exclude the effects of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors yielded consistent results (6 studies, 671 patients; pooled OR for remission, 2.80; 95% CI, 1.91-4.09; P<0.001). In subgroup analysis of the remission outcome, tonsillectomy plus steroid pulse therapy was superior to steroid pulse therapy alone (7 studies, 783 patients; pooled OR, 3.15; 95% CI, 1.99-5.01; P<0.001), and tonsillectomy plus conventional steroid therapy was superior to conventional steroid therapy alone (2 studies, 159 patients; pooled OR, 4.13; 95% CI, 1.23-13.94; P=0.02). Tonsillectomy was superior to general treatment (3 studies, 187 patients; pooled OR for remission, 2.21; 95% CI, 1.20-4.05; P=0.01). In addition, tonsillectomy was associated with decreased odds of ESRD (9 studies, 873 patients; pooled OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.12-0.52; P<0.001). 2 sensitivity analyses, one excluding studies with less than 5 years' follow-up and another excluding the confounding effect of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors, yielded nearly the same reduction in ESRD risk (6 studies, 691 patients; pooled OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.11-0.36; P<0.001; and 6 studies, 547 patients; pooled OR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.14-0.44; P<0.001).
Limitations: Most included studies were retrospective cohort studies; we were unable to adjust uniformly for potential confounding variables.
Conclusions: As adjunct or independent therapy, tonsillectomy may induce clinical remission and reduce the rates of ESRD in patients with IgAN.
Keywords: IgA nephropathy (IgAN); clinical remission; end-stage renal disease (ESRD); glomerulonephritis; kidney disease progression; kidney failure; meta-analysis; tonsillectomy; tonsillitis.
Copyright © 2014 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.