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Overview of Nephritic Syndrome


Frank O'Brien

, MD, Washington University in St. Louis

Last full review/revision Jul 2021| Content last modified Jul 2021
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Nephritic syndrome is defined by hematuria, variable degrees of proteinuria, usually dysmorphic red blood cells (RBCs), and often RBC casts on microscopic examination of urinary sediment. Often 1 of the following elements are present: edema, hypertension, elevated serum creatinine, and oliguria. Nephritic syndrome has both primary and secondary causes. Diagnosis is based on history, physical examination, and sometimes renal biopsy Renal biopsy Biopsy of the urinary tract requires a trained specialist (nephrologist, urologist, or interventional radiologist). Indications for diagnostic biopsy include unexplained nephritic or nephrotic... read more . Treatment and prognosis vary by cause.

  • Acute (serum creatinine rises over many weeks or less)

  • Chronic (renal insufficiency may progress over years)

Nephritic syndrome can also be

  • Primary (idiopathic)

  • Secondary


Acute glomerulonephritis

Chronic glomerulonephritis

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