Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (GN) is a disorder of the kidneys that occurs after infection with certain strains of Streptococcus bacteria.
Post-streptococcal GN is a form of glomerulonephritis. It is caused by an infection with a type of streptococcus bacteria. The infection does not occur in the kidneys, but in a different part of the body, such as the skin or throat.
The strep bacterial infection causes the tiny blood vessels in the filtering units of the kidneys (glomeruli) to become inflamed. This makes the kidneys less able to filter the urine.
Post-streptococcal GN is uncommon today because infections that can lead to the disorder are commonly treated with antibiotics. The disorder may develop 1 - 2 weeks after an untreated throat infection, or 3 - 4 weeks after a skin infection.
It may occur in people of any age, but it most often occurs in children ages 6 - 10. Although skin and throat infections are common in children, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis is a rare complication of these infections.
Risk factors include:
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
A physical examination shows swelling (edema), especially in the face. Abnormal sounds may be heard when listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope (auscultation). Blood pressure is often high.
Other tests that may be done include:
There is no specific treatment for post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms.
You may need to limit salt in the diet to control swelling and high blood pressure.
Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis usually goes away by itself after several weeks to months.
In small number of adults, it may get worse and lead to chronic kidney failure. Sometimes it can progress to end-stage kidney disease, which requires dialysis and a kidney transplant.
Call your health care provider if:
Treating known streptococcal infections may prevent post-streptococcal GN.
Glomerulonephritis - post-streptococcal; Post-infectious glomerulonephritis
Appel GB. Glomerular disorders and nephrotic syndromes. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 122.
Nachman PH, Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Brenner BM, ed. Brenner and Rector's the Kidney. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 30.
Pan Cg, Avner Ed. Glomerulonephritis associated with infections. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, Schor NF, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson's Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 505.
Updated by: Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, Affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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