Alport Syndrome Treatment & Management

Updated: Jul 21, 2015
  • Author: Ramesh Saxena, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Treatment

Approach Considerations

No definite treatment exists for Alport syndrome. Research indicates that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can reduce proteinuria and the progression of renal disease. Thus, the use of ACE inhibitors is reasonable in patients with Alport syndrome who have proteinuria with or without hypertension; the same is true for angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs). Both classes of drugs apparently help to reduce proteinuria by decreasing intraglomerular pressure. Moreover, by inhibiting angiotensin II, a growth factor that is implicated in glomerular sclerosis, these drugs have a potential role in slowing sclerotic progression.

A small study by Daina and colleagues found that combination therapy with an ACE inhibitor, an ARB, a non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker, and a statin (benazepril, 10-20 mg/day;, valsartan, 80-160 mg/day; diltiazem, 60-120 mg/day; and fluvastatin, 40-80 mg/day), safely ameliorated albuminuria, hypertension, lipid abnormalities, and glomerular selectivity in Alport syndrome patients and halted long-term progression in those without renal insufficiency. The 4-month study included nine albuminuric adults with Alport syndrome whose creatinine clearance was >20 ml/min/1.73 m2. [20]

Some reports suggest that cyclosporine may reduce proteinuria and stabilize renal functions in patients with Alport syndrome; however, the studies were small and uncontrolled. Moreover, reports suggest that patient response to cyclosporine can vary and that the drug may accelerate the development of interstitial fibrosis due to calcineurin-induced nephrotoxicity. [21]

Renal failure

Begin appropriate replacement therapy as renal failure advances. Therapy includes erythropoietin for chronic anemia, phosphate binders and vitamin D to manage osteodystrophy, alkali to correct acidosis, and antihypertensive therapy to control blood pressure. Hemodialysis or peritoneal dial3ysis does not raise specific problems.

Pregnancy

In women with the more severe form of Alport syndrome, pregnancy may accelerate the progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

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Monitoring

Check 24-hour urinary protein, creatinine, and serum chemistry as follows:

  • Annually in patients without renal insufficiency and in those with mild renal insufficiency
  • Every 6 months in patients with moderate renal insufficiency
  • Every 1-3 months in patients with advanced renal failure
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Renal Transplantation

Kidney transplantation is usually offered to patients with Alport syndrome who develop ESRD. Recurrent disease does not occur in the transplanted kidney, and the allograft survival rate in these patients is similar to that in patients with other renal diseases.

However, about 3-5% of male patients with transplants develop anti ̶ glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) nephritis. These individuals usually have early onset Alport syndrome with clinically significant hearing loss and ESRD by about age 20 years. Female patients with X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) and all patients with healthy hearing or late progression to ESRD have a low risk for anti-GBS nephritis.

In view of the excellent graft survival rates and very low incidence of anti-GBM disease, renal transplantation is not contraindicated in patients with Alport syndrome. [22, 23]

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Consultations

Consultations with the following clinicians may be necessary:

  • Ophthalmologist
  • Otorhinolaryngologist
  • Transplant surgeon
  • Surgeon
  • Dialysis specialist
  • Nephrologist
  • Audiologist
  • Genetic counselor
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