(redirected from Nefritis)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.




Nephritis is inflammation of the kidney.


The most prevalent form of acute nephritis is glomerulonephritis. This condition affects children and teenagers far more often than it affects adults. It is inflammation of the glomeruli, or small round filters located in the kidney. Pyelonephritis affects adults more than children, and is recognized as inflammation of the kidney and upper urinary tract. A third type of nephritis is hereditary nephritis, a rare inherited condition.

Causes and symptoms

Acute glomerulonephritis usually develops a few weeks after a strep infection of the throat or skin. Symptoms of glomerulonephritis include fatigue, high blood pressure, and swelling. Swelling is most notable in the hands, feet, ankles and face.
Pyelonephritis usually occurs suddenly, and the acute form of this disease is more common in adult women. The most common cause of this form of bacterial nephritis is the backward flow of infected urine from the bladder into the upper urinary tract. Its symptoms include fever and chills, fatigue, burning or frequent urination, cloudy or bloody urine, and aching pain on one or both sides of the lower back or abdomen.
Hereditary nephritis can be present at birth. The rare disease presents in many different forms and can be responsible for up to 5% of end-stage renal disease in men.


Diagnosis of nephritis is based on:
  • the patient's symptoms and medical history
  • physical examination
  • laboratory tests
  • kidney function tests
  • imaging studies such as ultrasound or x rays to determine blockage and inflammation
Urinalysis can reveal the presence of:
  • albumin and other proteins
  • red and white blood cells
  • pus, blood, or bacteria in the urine


Treatment of glomerulonephritis normally includes drugs such as cortisone or cytotoxic drugs (those that are destructive to certain cells or antigens). Diuretics may be prescribed to increase urination. If high blood pressure is present, drugs may be prescribed to decrease the hypertension. Iron and vitamin supplements may be recommended if the patient becomes anemic.
Acute pyelonephritis may require hospitalization for severe illness. Antibiotics will be prescribed, with the length of treatment based on the severity of the infection. In the case of chronic pyelonephritis, a sixmonth course of antibiotics may be necessary to rid the infection. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
Treatment of hereditary nephritis depends of the variety of the disease and severity at the time of treatment.

Alternative treatment

Alternative treatment of nephritis should be used as a complement to medical care and under the supervision of a licensed practitioner. Some herbs thought to relieve symptoms of nephritis include cleavers (Galium spp.) and wild hydrangea.


Prognosis for most cases of glomerulonephritis is generally good. Ninety percent of children recover without complications. With proper medical treatment, symptoms usually subside within a few weeks, or at the most, a few months.
Pyelonephritis in the acute form offers a good prognosis if diagnosed and treated early. Follow-up urinalysis studies will determine if the patient remains bacteria-free. If the infection is not cured or continues to recur, it can lead to serious complications such as bacteremia (bacterial invasion of the bloodstream), hypertension, chronic pyelonephritis and even permanent kidney damage.
If hereditary nephritis is not detected or treated, it can lead to complications such as eye problems, deafness or kidney failure.


Streptococcal infections that may lead to glomerulonephritis can be prevented by avoiding exposure to strep infection and obtaining prompt medical treatment for scarlet fever or other infection.
Pyelonephritis can best be avoided if those with a history of urinary tract infections take care to drink plenty of fluids, urinate frequently, and practice good hygiene following urination.
Hereditary nephritis can not be prevented, but research to combat the disease continues.



American Kidney Fund AKF). Suite 1010,6110 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852. (800) 638-8299.
National Kidney Foundation. 30 East 33rd St., New York, NY 10016. (800) 622-9010.


"Glomerulonephritis." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.


 [nĕ-fri´tis] (pl. nephri´tides)
inflammation of the kidney; a focal or diffuse proliferative or destructive disease that may involve the glomerulus, tubule, or interstitial renal tissue. Called also Bright's disease. The most usual form is glomerulonephritis, that is, inflammation of the glomeruli, which are clusters of renal capillaries. Damage to the membranes of the glomeruli results in impairment of the filtering process, so that blood and proteins such as albumin pass out into the urine. Depending on the symptoms it produces, nephritis is classified as acute nephritis, chronic nephritis, or nephrosis (called also the nephrotic syndrome).
Acute Nephritis. This occurs most frequently in children and young people and seems to strike those who have recently suffered from sore throat, scarlet fever, and other infections caused by streptococci; it is believed to originate as an immune response on the part of the kidney. An attack may produce no symptoms, but more often there are headaches, a rundown feeling, back pain, and perhaps slight fever. The urine may look smoky, bloody, or wine-colored. Analysis of the urine shows the presence of erythrocytes, albumin, and casts. Another symptom is edema of the face or ankles, more common in the morning than in the evening. The blood pressure usually rises during acute nephritis, and in severe cases hypertension may be accompanied by convulsions.

Treatment consists chiefly of bed rest and a carefully controlled diet. Penicillin is often used if an earlier streptococcal infection is still lingering. Recovery is usually complete. In a small percentage of cases, however, acute nephritis resists complete cure. It may subside for a time and then become active again, or it may develop into chronic nephritis. Dialysis may be indicated in patients with fluid overload that is refractory to diuretics, or who become clinically uremic.
Chronic Nephritis. Chronic nephritis may follow a case of acute nephritis immediately or it may develop after a long interval during which no symptoms have been present. Many cases of chronic nephritis occur in people who have never had the acute form of the disease. Symptoms are often unpredictable and variable from case to case, but there is almost always steady, progressive, permanent damage to the kidneys.

Chronic nephritis generally moves through three stages. In the first stage, the latent stage, there are few outward symptoms. There may be slight malaise, but often the only indication of the disease is the presence of albumin and other abnormal substances in the urine. If a blood count is made during this stage, anemia may be found. There is no special treatment during the latent stage of chronic nephritis. The patient can live a normal life but should avoid extremes of fatigue and exposure and should eat a well balanced diet.

The first stage may be followed by a second stage, in which edema occurs in the face, legs, or arms. The main treatment in this stage consists of a low-protein, low-sodium diet and diuretics. Steroid hormones may be helpful.

At the final stage of chronic nephritis is end-stage renal disease. Treatments are kidney transplant and dialysis. At any stage of chronic nephritis it is particularly important to avoid other infections, which will aggravate the condition.

There is no known cure for chronic nephritis, although the progress of the disease can be delayed, so that the patient can live an almost normal life for years. Many patients are being helped by repeated purification of their uremic blood by hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, or by transplantation.
glomerular nephritis glomerulonephritis.
interstitial nephritis nephritis with increase of interstitial tissue and thickening of vessel walls and malpighian corpuscles; it may be due to overuse of analgesics, mercury poisoning, gout, or any of various other conditions.
lupus nephritis glomerulonephritis associated with systemic lupus erythematosus.
potassium-losing nephritis see under nephropathy.
radiation nephritis kidney damage caused by ionizing radiation; symptoms include glomerular and tubular damage, hypertension, and proteinuria, sometimes leading to renal failure. It may be acute or chronic, and some varieties do not manifest until years after the radiation exposure.
salt-losing nephritis salt-losing nephropathy.
transfusion nephritis nephropathy following transfusion from an incompatible donor as a result of the hemoglobin of the hemolyzed red blood cells being deposited in the renal tubules.
tubulointerstitial nephritis nephritis of the renal tubules and interstitial tissues, usually seen secondary to a drug sensitization, systemic infection, graft rejection, or autoimmune disease. Characteristics include lymphocytes in interstitial infiltrate and within tubules, mild hematuria, and pyuria. Acute tubulointerstitial nephritis is usually seen as a complication of infection or allergy. Chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis is when the condition has progressed to interstitial fibrosis with shrunken kidneys, a lowered glomerular filtration rate, and danger of renal failure.


, pl.


(ne-frī'tis, -frit'i-dēz),
Inflammation of the kidneys.
[nephr- + G. -itis, inflammation]


n. pl. ne·phritides (-frĭt′ĭ-dēz′) or ne·phritises
Any of various acute or chronic inflammations of the kidneys, such as Bright's disease.


Nephrology Inflammation of the kidney. See Acute interstitial nephritis, Glomerulonephritis, Interstitial nephritis, Lupus nephritis, Pyelonephritis, Shunt nephritis.


, pl. nephritides (nĕ-frī'tis, -frit'i-dēz)
Inflammation of the kidneys.
[nephr- + G. -itis, inflammation]


Inflammation of the kidney. See also GLOMERULONEPHRITIS.
References in periodicals archive ?
Se reevalua el caso clinico por parte de la unidad de nefrologia, y ante los hallazgos de una biopsia realizada, el antecedente de derivacion ventriculoauricular, el consumo de complemento y el sindrome nefrotico, se considera que el paciente tiene glomerulonefritis de patron membranoproliferativo secundario a nefritis por derivacion, sin indicacion de continuar tratamiento con micofenolato mofetil, ni corticoide.
Las lesiones histopatologicas en rinon de Dirofilariosis canina registrados: fueron nefritis intersticial, periglomerulitis, pielonefritis y nefritis intersticial con predominio de celulas inflamatorias mononucleares.
Las proteinurias tubulares, menos frecuentes, obedecen a fallas de resorcion y sobrevienen por acidosis tubular renal, pielonefritis, nefritis intersticiales, poliquistosis y Sindrome de Fanconi (ver mas adelante).
Los datos obtenidos de estudios prospectivos demuestran que solamente una minoria de pacientes sufre de complicaciones severas (por ejemplo: nefritis, psicosis o trombocitopenia severa).
Indicaciones de los glucocorticoides en la practica clinica (3,4) Insuficiencia suprarrenal aguda y cronica Enfermedades reumatologicas: artritis reumatoidea, lupus eritematoso sistemico, esclerodermia, dermatomiosistis Sindrome nefrotico, nefritis autoinmune Rechazo de trasplantes Asma bronquial y enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva cronica (EPOC) Reacciones alergicas, como shock anafilactico, edema angioneurotico, broncoespasmo grave, urticarias, dermatitis de contacto Coadyuvancia en el tratamiento de leucemias y en algunos linfomas Patologias del SNC: esclerosis multiple, lesion de medula espinal, edema cerebral Necrosis hepatica subaguda, cirrosis no alcoholica en mujeres Colitis ulcerativa Gota Sarcoidosis
Enfermedades de la madre, como temperaturas elevadas, hemorragias, invasiones parasitarias, enfermedades infecciosas generales, peritonitis, enteritis, nefritis, colicos, timpanismos, etc.
La mayoria de los pacientes tienen grados variables de nefritis tubulointersticial; sin embargo, las lesiones glomerulares especificas son raras, excepto en lo ultraestructural (donde la proliferacion de celulas mesangiales y el engrosamiento de la membrana basal son evidentes) (Gilbert, 1992).
La Helioterapia artificial con rayos ultravioletas esta contraindicada en estados caquecticos, en enfermedades febriles agudas, tuberculosis pulmonar exudativa, lesiones arteriales, nefritis, cardiopatias mal compensadas y en el penfigo; y la de rayos infrarrojos en todos aquellos casos en que el calor acentua o produce fenomenos de tipo congestivo.
A los nueve meses presento problemas de desnutricion; al primer ano, neumonia, a los siete anos, glomerulo nefritis infecciosa.
Hizo un segundo viaje a Shangai para tratarse la nefritis que padecia, pero no quiso permanecer internado.
Es raro, pero estos pacientes pueden presentar sintomas respiratorios, polineuropatia y nefritis intersticial tubular (28), lo que hace que su diagnostico y tratamiento sea todo un reto para el especialista.