Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

Definition

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is scar tissue in the filtering unit of the kidney. This structure is called the glomerulus. The glomeruli serve as filters that help the body get rid of harmful substances. Each kidney has thousands of glomeruli.

"Focal" means that some of the glomeruli become scarred. Others remain normal. "Segmental" means that only part of an individual glomerulus is damaged.

Alternative Names

Segmental glomerulosclerosis; Focal sclerosis with hyalinosis

Causes

The cause of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is often unknown.

The condition affects both children and adults. It occurs slightly more often in men and boys. It is also more common in African Americans. Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis causes up to a quarter of all cases of nephrotic syndrome.

Known causes include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This exam may show tissue swelling (edema) and high blood pressure. Signs of kidney (renal) failure and excess fluid may develop as the condition gets worse.

Tests may include:

Treatment

Treatments may include:

The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms of nephrotic syndrome and prevent chronic kidney failure. These treatments may include:

Outlook (Prognosis)

A large portion of people with focal or segmental glomerulosclerosis will develop chronic kidney failure.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you develop symptoms of this condition, especially if there is:

Prevention

No prevention is known.

References

Appel GB, D'Agati VD. Primary and secondary (non-genetic) causes of focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 18.

Radhakrishnan J, Appel GB. Glomerular disorders and nephrotic syndromes. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 113.

Saha MK, Pendergraft WF, Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 31.


Review Date: 5/4/2021
Reviewed By: Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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