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Minimal-Change Disease Treatment & Management

  • Author: Abeera Mansur, MD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN  more...
 
Updated: Jan 26, 2015
 

Approach Considerations

Because of the high prevalence of minimal-change disease (MCD) in children with nephrotic syndrome, an empiric trial of corticosteroids commonly is the first step in therapy. Corticosteroids are the treatment of choice, leading to complete remission of proteinuria in most cases. Approximately 90% of children respond within 2 weeks to prednisone at a dose of 2 mg/kg/day (not to exceed 80 mg/day). After the remission of proteinuria, prednisone is continued for another 6 weeks, at lower doses.

In some children, proteinuria fails to clear by 6-8 weeks, and performing a renal biopsy may be useful to determine if another process may be present. For example, MCD secondary to Hodgkin lymphoma is frequently resistant to steroids and will remit with cure of the primary disease. Generally, if proteinuria persists after two relapses or courses of steroids, a tissue diagnosis should be made before starting cytotoxic or immunosuppressive therapy.

Adults respond more slowly than children. A response in up to 80-90% has been recorded in adolescents and adults. However, the time to remission is up to 16 weeks. If patients are steroid-resistant or they relapse frequently, a trial of immunosuppressants is given.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), alone or in combination, should be used with a goal of reducing the proteinuria. Blood pressure and renal function should be monitored closely in patients on ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

The presence of hypovolemia necessitates immediate volume expansion with purified plasma protein fraction and isotonic sodium chloride solution. Parenteral albumin infusions are not appropriate for long-term management of hypoalbuminemia because they have only a transient effect. Such crises should be avoided with recognition of the earlier signs of hypovolemia, including abdominal pain, increase in hematocrit, and response to contributing factors (eg, diarrhea, septicemia, diuretic therapy).

Edema should be controlled by dietary sodium restriction. Small amounts of edema are not of much clinical significance. The use of diuretics should be reserved for patients with severe edema, particularly in the presence of respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, and when the condition restricts activity.

Thrombotic episodes should be prevented by mobilization and meticulous attention to venipuncture and intravenous infusion sites. Established episodes should be managed with heparinization.

Infections must be treated aggressively. Cellulitis, peritonitis, otitis, and pneumonia are common infections. Susceptibility to pneumococcal infections warrants the administration of penicillin prophylaxis to patients in relapse. Corticosteroids increase susceptibility to infection.

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Consultations

Consultation with a nephrologist generally is needed. The nephrologist has the expertise to perform and interpret the renal biopsy. A renal pathologist has the expertise to interpret biopsy findings under light microscopy, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy.

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Diet and Activity

An adequate dietary protein intake, in accordance with the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is necessary. No evidence suggests that hepatic albumin synthesis is elevated with protein intake that is higher than the RDA.

Dietary sodium restriction helps forestall the progression of edema and also is prudent in the management of hypertension.

Mobilization, rather than bed rest, is indicated to avoid thromboembolic complications.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Abeera Mansur, MD Consultant Nephrologist, Doctors Hospital and Medical Center, Pakistan

Abeera Mansur, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Susie Lew, MD Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, George Washington Unversity School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Medical Director, Peritoneal Dialysis Unit, George Washington University Medical Center, Gambro Healthcare/DaVita

Susie Lew, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology, National Kidney Foundation

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Amgen for investigator; Received consulting fee from Gambro for consulting; Received grant/research funds from Questcor for investigator; Received grant/research funds from Bristol Meyers Squibb for investigator; Received grant/research funds from CMS for investigator.

Florin Georgescu, MD Consulting Staff, Kidney Specialists of Savannah

Florin Georgescu, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN Professor of Medicine, Chief, Nephrology Division, Director, Nephrology Training Program, Director, Metabolic Stone Clinic, Kidney Disease Program, University of Louisville School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Louisville Veterans Affairs Hospital

Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Society of Nephrology, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Federation for Medical Research, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Transplantation, Kentucky Medical Association, National Kidney Foundation, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Dept of Veterans Affairs for research; Received salary from American Society of Nephrology for asn council position; Received salary from University of Louisville for employment; Received salary from University of Louisville Physicians for employment; Received contract payment from American Physician Institute for Advanced Professional Studies, LLC for independent contractor; Received contract payment from Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc for independent cont.

Chief Editor

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN Huberwald Professor of Medicine, Section of Nephrology-Hypertension, Tulane University School of Medicine; Chief, Renal Section, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hypertension, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Anil Kumar Mandal, MD Clinical Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Florida College of Medicine

Anil Kumar Mandal, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Clinical Pharmacology, American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology, Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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