Star fruit nephrotoxicity: a case series and literature review

BMC Nephrol. 2018 Oct 22;19(1):288. doi: 10.1186/s12882-018-1084-1.


Background: Star fruit is a popular medicinal fruit in the tropics. Its hypoglycaemic properties are considered useful in achieving glycaemic control in diabetes. Star fruit induced nephrotoxicity is a rare cause of acute kidney injury in individuals with both normal and reduced baseline renal function. We present three cases of acute kidney injury due to star fruit nephrotoxicity from Sri Lanka, and discuss the published literature on this topic.

Case presentation: Three Sri Lankan patients, all with a background of diabetes, presented to us with acute nausea and anorexia following recent consumption of star fruit. Two patients complained of diarrhoea and one patient complained of intractable hiccoughs. They all had elevated serum creatinine on admission. Two were known to have normal baseline serum creatinine levels. On renal biopsy two had evidence of oxalate crystal deposition. One did not show crystal deposition but had acute interstitial nephritis for which no alternate cause could be identified. Two were treated with short courses of prednisolone and two required acute haemodialysis. All recovered renal function, with both patients with known baselines approaching their premorbid serum creatinine levels.

Conclusion: Consumption of star fruit, especially on an empty stomach or in a state of dehydration may precipitate acute kidney injury. A history of star fruit ingestion must be actively looked for in patients presenting with unexplained acute kidney injury. The use of star fruit as a therapy for diabetes should be discouraged.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Oxalate; Star fruit.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Aged
  • Averrhoa / adverse effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Fruit / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged