Core Curriculum in Nephrology
Installments of the Core Curriculum in Nephrology provide trainees in nephrology with a strong knowledge base in core topics in the specialty by providing an overview of the topic and citing key references, including the foundational literature that led to current clinical approaches.
- Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is the most common primary glomerular disease worldwide. The diagnostic histologic hallmark is dominant or codominant IgA staining on kidney biopsy; however, patients may present with various clinical syndromes ranging from asymptomatic abnormalities noted on urinalysis to rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Given substantial heterogeneity in the clinical course of disease, online risk calculators are available that may assist in prognostication and inform discussions with patients.
- The understanding and management of membranous nephropathy, a common cause of nephrotic syndrome that is more frequently encountered in adults than in children, has rapidly evolved over the past decade. Identification of target antigens has allowed for more precise molecular diagnoses, and the ability to monitor circulating autoantibodies has added a new vantage point in terms of disease monitoring and decisions about immunosuppression. Although immunosuppression with alkylating agents combined with corticosteroids, or with calcineurin inhibitor–based regimens, has been the historical mainstay of treatment, observational and now randomized controlled trials with the B-cell–depleting agent rituximab have moved this agent to the forefront of therapy for primary membranous nephropathy.
- Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a heterogeneous disorder that is common in hospitalized patients and associated with short- and long-term morbidity and mortality. When AKI is present, prompt workup of the underlying cause should be pursued, with specific attention to reversible causes. Measures to prevent AKI include optimization of volume status and avoidance of nephrotoxic medications. Crystalloids are preferred over colloids for most patients, and hydroxyethyl starches should be avoided. Volume overload in the setting of AKI is associated with adverse outcomes, so attention should be paid to overall fluid balance.