Which clinical history findings are characteristic of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020
  • Author: Duvuru Geetha, MD, MRCP; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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A history suggestive of preceding streptococcal infection may include a preceding infective episode such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or pyoderma. This is the sine qua non for the diagnosis of acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN).

A latent period always occurs between the streptococcal infection and the onset of signs and symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis. In general, the latent period is 1-2 weeks after a throat infection and 3-6 weeks after a skin infection. [18] The onset of signs and symptoms at the same time as pharyngitis (also called synpharyngitic nephritis) is more likely to be immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy rather than APSGN.

Dark urine (brown-, tea-, or cola-colored) is often the first clinical manifestation of APSGN. Dark urine is caused by hemolysis of red blood cells that have penetrated the glomerular basement membrane and have passed into the tubular system.

Periorbital edema is typical. The onset of puffiness of the face or eyelids is sudden. It is usually prominent upon awakening and, if the patient is active, tends to subside at the end of the day.

In some cases, generalized edema and other features of circulatory congestion, such as dyspnea, may be present. Edema is a result of a defect in renal excretion of salt and water. The severity of edema is often disproportionate to the degree of renal impairment.

Nonspecific symptoms of APSGN can include general malaise, weakness, and anorexia and are present in 50% of patients. Approximately 15% of patients complain of nausea and vomiting.

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