What is the role of renal biopsy in the diagnosis of acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN)?

Updated: Dec 05, 2018
  • Author: Rajendra Bhimma, MBChB, MD, PhD, DCH (SA), FCP(Paeds)(SA), MMed(Natal); Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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Renal biopsy is not usually indicated in the person who presents with relatively typical acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN). However, in individuals whose initial presentation or early course is atypical, an examination of renal tissue may be indicated. Irrespective of the degree of severity of the initial inflammatory response, the histologic picture is consistent and specific.

Histologic findings depend on the etiology of the acute glomerulonephritis, the severity of the inflammatory process, and the stage of the disease at the time of the biopsy. This section concentrates on the findings observed in individuals with poststreptococcal acute glomerulonephritis. The severity of the histologic process correlates with the clinical severity of the initial phase of the disease, and it may correlate with the ultimate prognosis (ie, severe lesions have worse prognoses).

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