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NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS) is a topic covered in the Harrison's Manual of Medicine.

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Characterized by albuminuria (>3.5 g/d) and hypoalbuminemia (<30 g/L) and accompanied by edema, hyperlipidemia, and lipiduria. Protein excretion should be quantified by 24-h urine collection, but can be monitored by measurement of the urine protein:creatinine ratio or albumin:creatinine ratio on a random spot urine. The measurement of creatinine excretion helps define the adequacy of 24-h urine collections: daily creatinine excretion should be 20–25 mg/kg lean body weight in men and 15–20 mg/kg lean body weight in women. For random urine samples, the ratio of protein or albumin to creatinine in mg/dL approximates the 24-h urine protein excretion, since creatinine excretion is only slightly greater than 1000 mg/d per 1.73 m2. A urine protein:creatinine ratio of 5 is thus consistent with 5 g/d per 1.73 m2. Quantification of urine protein excretion on spot urines has largely supplanted formal 24-h urine collections for monitoring or screening, due to the greater ease and the need to verify a complete 24-h collection. The total protein:creatinine ratio does not detect microalbuminuria, a level of albumin excretion that is below the level of detection by tests for total protein; urine albumin:creatinine measurement is therefore preferred as a screening tool for lesser proteinuria.

In addition to edema, the complications of NS can include renal vein thrombosis and other thromboembolic events, infection, vitamin D deficiency, protein malnutrition, and drug toxicities due to decreased protein binding.

In adults, the most common cause of NS is diabetes. A minority of cases are secondary to SLE, amyloidosis, drugs, neoplasia, or other disorders (Table 142-3). By exclusion, the remainder are idiopathic. With the exception of diabetic nephropathy, suggested by a compatible natural history of proteinuria in a diabetic pt, a renal biopsy is required to make the diagnosis and determine therapy in NS.

Systemic CausesGlomerular Disease
Diabetes mellitus, SLE, amyloidosis, HIV-associated nephropathy


Minimal change disease

Drugs: gold, penicillamine, probenecid, street heroin, NSAIDs, pamidronate, interferonsFocal glomerulosclerosis
Infections: bacterial endocarditis, hepatitis B, shunt infections, syphilis, malaria, hepatic schistosomiasisMembranoproliferative GN
Malignancy: multiple myeloma, light chain deposition disease, Hodgkin’s and other lymphomas, leukemia, carcinoma of breast and GI tract

Mesangioproliferative GN

Immunotactoid and fibrillary GN

Abbreviations: GN, glomerulonephritis.
Source: Modified from RJ Glassock, BM Brenner: HPIM-13.

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Loscalzo, Joseph, et al., editors. "NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS)." Harrison's Manual of Medicine, 19th ed., McGraw Hill Inc., 2017. harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623346/all/NEPHROTIC_SYNDROME__NS_.
NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS). In: Loscalzo J, Jameson JL, Longo DL, et al, eds. Harrison's Manual of Medicine. 19th ed. McGraw Hill Inc.; 2017. https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623346/all/NEPHROTIC_SYNDROME__NS_. Accessed April 18, 2019.
NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS). (2017). In Loscalzo, J., Jameson, J. L., Longo, D. L., Hauser, S. L., Fauci, A. S., & Kasper, D. L. (Eds.), Harrison's Manual of Medicine. Available from https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623346/all/NEPHROTIC_SYNDROME__NS_
NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS) [Internet]. In: Loscalzo J, Jameson JL, Longo DL, Hauser SL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, editors. Harrison's Manual of Medicine. McGraw Hill Inc.; 2017. [cited 2019 April 18]. Available from: https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623346/all/NEPHROTIC_SYNDROME__NS_.
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TY - ELEC T1 - NEPHROTIC SYNDROME (NS) ID - 623346 ED - Loscalzo,Joseph, ED - Jameson,J Larry, ED - Longo,Dan L, ED - Hauser,Stephen L, ED - Fauci,Anthony S, ED - Kasper,Dennis L, BT - Harrison's Manual of Medicine UR - https://harrisons.unboundmedicine.com/harrisons/view/Harrisons-Manual-of-Medicine/623346/all/NEPHROTIC_SYNDROME__NS_ PB - McGraw Hill Inc. ET - 19 DB - Harrison's Manual of Medicine DP - Unbound Medicine ER -