Henoch-Schönlein purpura in adults is not uncommon in elderly patients with an adverse prognosis

Department of Nephrology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Clinical nephrology (Impact Factor: 1.13). 07/2011; 76(1):49-56. DOI: 10.5414/CN106900
Source: PubMed


Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a fairly common disease in children and adolescents. There are only limited data available for adults.
A retrospective analysis was conducted to study renal manifestations in patients with HSP treated in our institution between 1982 and 2007. We divided our adult cohort according to age - under or over 60 years - to examine differences in elderly patients.
HSP was identified in 2.2% of patients referred to us for kidney biopsy. Purpuric lesions and renal involvement were found in all patients. An important triggering factor for the development of HSP in our series was chronic alcohol intake. Forty percent of our patients fulfilled the WHO criteria for alcoholics. Renal involvement was particularly prominent in patients over 60 years of age. At disease onset, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was 63% lower in the elderly. Within a median follow-up of 8 years, renal function was significantly better in younger adults than in the elderly. 32% of the elderly have shown Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) < 20 ml/min/1.73 m2 in contrast to only 7% in patients < 60 years. Furthermore, significantly more elderly patients reached end-stage renal failure.
The data indicate that renal manifestation of HSP in the elderly is severe and its outcome relatively poor, and worsens when compared to patients < 60 years.

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    ABSTRACT: Recently, Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) has been observed in elderly people, although it was believed to be uncommon in these subjects. The increased risks of developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in adults in comparison with children were highlighted by different studies; however, limited data are available on the treatment of HSP nephritis in adults. Between 2002 and 2008, five elderly Japanese patients (>65 years old) (mean age, 68 years, ranging from 65 to 72) with severe forms of HSP nephritis were entered into a prospective study to evaluate prednisolone therapy on the outcome of nephropathy in terms of clinical symptoms and histopathological changes. The patients were considered at risk of developing chronic renal failure when they presented with a nephrotic syndrome and crescentic glomeruli. At the last follow-up, 4-10 years after initiation of the therapy, four patients had clinically recovered and one died of lung cancer. No patients developed ESRD. The clinical outcome seemed to be correlated with glomerular activity (massive proteinuria and crescent formation). In spite of a relatively large dose of prednisolone, a few adverse effects, such as insomnia and skin lesions, were observed. Our preliminary small study suggests that renal outcome as well as survival of elderly patients with severe forms of HSP might be altered by aggressive prednisolone therapy.
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