Background: The aim of this multicentre collaborative study was to compare the progression of renal disease in children and adults with Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HPS) nephritis selected on the basis of IgA-dominant renal deposits and biopsy material available for review.
Methods: The analysis was performed in 152 patients (95 adults and 57 children < 16 years old at diagnosis) with a follow-up (> or = 1 year up to 20 years (4.9 +/- 3.4 years in adults and 4.8 +/- 3.9 years in children).
Results: Renal histology and clinical presentation were similar in both age groups: crescents were found in 36% of adults and 34.6% of children (in only 2.7% of adults and 1.9% of children involving > 50% of glomeruli), nephrotic-range proteinuria in 29.5% of adults and 28.1% of children and functional impairment in 24.1% of adults and 36.9% of children. The outcome was similar for both age groups (remission, 32.5% of adults and 31.6% of children; renal function impairment, 31.6% of adults and 24.5% of children). Endstage renal disease was observed in 15.8% of adults and in 7% of children. Renal function survival at 5 years was not significantly different in the two groups (85% in adults and 95% in children) and at 10 years it was approximately 75% in both groups. None of the children died and adult survival was 97% at 5 years. In adults at presentation, renal function impairment (P < 0.02) as well as proteinuria higher than 1.5 g/day (P < 0.02) and hypertension (P < 0.001) were negative prognostic factors. Multivariate analysis stressed the main statistical relevance of proteinuria (relative risk 2.37, P < 0.02). Conversely, in children no definite level of proteinuria, hypertension or other data were found to be associated with poor prognosis.
Conclusions: Among patients with a clinical presentation which warrants renal biopsy, HSP nephritis has a similar prognosis in children and adults. The evolution is more predictable in adults than in children.