DOI 10.5414/CNP58001

Clinical Nephrology, Volume 58 (2002) - July (1 - 8)

Henoch-Schoenlein nephritis in adults – clinical features and outcomes in Finnish patients

V. Rauta, T. Törnroth, C. Grönhagen-Riska
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland


Background: Henoch-Schoenlein purpura (HSP) is a small vessel vasculitis that often involves the kidneys. It affects many more children than adults. Few studies on HSP nephritis (HSN) in adult patients have been reported. One aim of the study described here was to determine clinical features in adults diagnosed at a single center as suffering from HSN. Other aims were to record outcomes of the disease and factors associated with its progression. Methods: Between 1980 and 1995, 42 adults attending our clinic were diagnosed consecutively, by means of renal biopsy, as suffering from HSN. Data on 38 patients with a follow-up period of at least a year were subsequently analyzed to determine whether any clinical, laboratory or histopathological variable was associated with the progression of HSN. Results: The mean age of the patients on biopsy was 42.0 years (SD 16.5). Eighteen of the 38 patients were male. Eleven of the 38 patients had isolated hematuria as an indication for renal biopsy and 25 had Ccr ³ 85 ml/min on diagnosis. Eight patients exhibited progression of HSN, 3 to end-stage renal failure (ESRF), during a mean follow-up time of 6.1 years (SD 4.3). Renal survival 10 years after renal biopsy was 91%. No histopathological findings were associated with poor outcome. The only factor statistically significantly related to the progression of HSN was a level of proteinuria greater than 1.0 g/24 h (p < 0.05). Hypertension and level of renal function were not significant prognostic factors either, except in a subgroup of 25 patients with initially normal renal function on diagnosis (p < 0.05 in both). In this subgroup, lower serum albumin levels were also found to be predictive for the progression of HSN. Conclusions: HSN is rare in adults and outcomes are unpredictable. However, any adult with purpura and persistent urinary abnormalities should undergo renal biopsy to determine a diagnosis; all patients suffering from HSN should be carefully monitored to determine whether the condition progresses. Attention should be paid especially to the degree of proteinuria, and also to hypertension in early stages of the disease.

Author Details


  • V. Rauta
  • T. Törnroth
  • C. Grönhagen-Riska


  • Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

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