Prolonged survival with a remnant kidney.
Surgical ablation of five-sixths renal mass in Munich-Wistar rats fed a high protein diet leads to focal sclerosis in the remnant kidney and progressive renal failure. Experimental data suggest that this injury results from intraglomerular hypertension and/or chronic glomerular hyperfiltration. Data in humans largely are limited to patients with unilateral renal agenesis or uninephrectomy, either for unilateral renal disease or for kidney transplant donation. Isolated case reports have documented focal sclerosis and progressive renal failure in two patients with a remnant kidney. To obtain data in humans with a remnant kidney, we surveyed more than 800 urologists and nephrologists in the United States and abroad. Criteria for inclusion in the study were (1) surgical resection (in one or more operations) resulting in the presence of a remnant kidney; and (2) an adequate period of follow-up, defined as 5 years or greater. A total of 13 patients were identified (from 13 different centers). Twelve patients had renal cancer and one had tuberculosis. Six patients were observed for 10 or more years postoperatively and all have stable serum creatinine levels of less than 270 mumol/L (3.0 mg/dL); two of these six patients are now more than 25 and 30 years postoperation. The other seven patients, observed for 5 to 7 years, have serum creatinine levels less than 270 mumol/L (3 mg/dL), while one has an increasing serum creatinine level. The two longest surviving patients both have undergone successful pregnancy with no overall change in serum creatinine. These observations demonstrate that it is possible for humans to survive more than 30 years with a stable serum creatinine, despite the presence of only a remnant kidney.
Foster, MH; Sant, GR; Donohoe, JF; Harrington, JT
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