OBJECTIVES To investigate the prevalence of microalbuminuria, urinary albumin excretion (UAE) between 20-200 μg/min, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients without clinical renal disease, and to discover if this could predict the development of renal disease.
METHODS This study made six monthly measurements of UAE, creatinine clearance, serological and clinical data in 22 ambulatory women patients with SLE, without clinical renal disease, hypertension, diabetes or heart failure. The patients were followed up for a period of 18 months (four measurements). Age and sex matched healthy controls were used as a comparative group. UAE was measured by nephelometry in three timed overnight urine samples at each visit.
RESULTS There were no significant differences in the creatinine clearance between the control group and the SLE patients. Creatinine clearance did not show significant changes throughout the study period. SLE patients had wide variations in the UAE rate compared with healthy controls. In five patients (5 of 22; 23%), on occasions, there was mild, transient increase in UAE reaching the level of microalbuminuria. During follow up, one patient with basal (4.67 μg/min) and six month (4.73 μg/min) normal UAE rate, was admitted with a nephrotic syndrome confirmed on biopsy examination to be proliferative lupus nephritis. Six months after beginning treatment with prednisone and cyclophosphamide her UAE rate returned to normal values (4.65 μg/min).
CONCLUSION SLE patients without clinical renal disease may have microalbuminuria, although this does not seem to warrant any specific action.
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- lupus nephritis
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