When is a kidney biopsy indicated in the workup of hematuria?

Updated: May 10, 2020
  • Author: Sanjeev Gulati, MD, MBBS, DNB(Peds), DM, DNB(Neph), FIPN(Australia), FICN, FRCPC(Canada); Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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A kidney biopsy is rarely indicated in the evaluation of isolated asymptomatic hematuria. Most studies reveal minimal histopathological abnormalities in such children. In a survey of pediatric nephrologists in North America, only 5% of responders indicated that they would perform a kidney biopsy on a child with asymptomatic hematuria. The main reasons for performing a biopsy in that survey were academic interest, parental pressure for a diagnosis, and concern for future economic impact on the child. On the other hand, the simultaneous presence of proteinuria, elevated serum creatinine, hypertension, a suspicious clinical history, or other imaging/laboratory abnormalities may justify a kidney biopsy.

Thus, relative indications for performing a kidney biopsy in patients with hematuria are as follows:

  • Significant proteinuria

  • Abnormal renal function

  • Recurrent persistent hematuria.

  • Serologic abnormalities (abnormal complement, ANA, or dsDNA levels).

  • Recurrent gross hematuria.

  • A family history of end-stage renal disease

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