Background: Renal damage is a progressive complication of sickle cell disease (SCD). Microalbuminuria is common in children with SCD, while a smaller number of children have more severe renal manifestations necessitating kidney biopsy. There is limited information on renal biopsy findings in children with SCD and subsequent management and outcome.
Methods: This is a multicenter retrospective analysis of renal biopsy findings and clinical outcomes in children and adolescents with SCD. We included children and adolescents (age ≤ 20 years) with SCD who had a kidney biopsy performed at a pediatric nephrology unit. The clinical indication for biopsy, biopsy findings, subsequent treatments, and outcomes were analyzed.
Results: Thirty-six SCD patients (ages 4-19 years) were identified from 14 centers with a median follow-up of 2.6 years (0.4-10.4 years). The indications for biopsy were proteinuria (92%) and elevated creatinine (30%). All biopsies had abnormal findings, including mesangial hypercellularity (75%), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (30%), membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (16%), and thrombotic microangiopathy (2%). There was increased use of hydroxyurea, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers following renal biopsy. At last follow-up, 3 patients were deceased, 2 developed insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, 6 initiated chronic hemodialysis, 1 received a bone marrow transplant, and 1 received a kidney transplant.
Conclusions: Renal biopsies, while not commonly performed in children with SCD, were universally abnormal. Outcomes were poor in this cohort of patients despite a variety of post-biopsy interventions. Effective early intervention to prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD) is needed to reduce morbidity and mortality in children with SCD.
Keywords: Children; Chronic kidney disease; Glomerular hyperfiltration; Glomerulopathy; Proteinuria; Sickle cell disease.