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Minimal change disease

  • Alternative Names

    Minimal change nephrotic syndrome; Nil disease; Lipoid nephrosis; Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome of childhood


    There may be symptoms of nephrotic syndrome:

    • Foamy appearance of the urine
    • Poor appetite
    • Swelling (especially around the eyes, feet, and ankles, and in the abdomen)
    • Weight gain (from fluid retention)

    Minimal change disease does not reduce the amount of urine produced. It rarely progresses to kidney failure.

    Signs and tests

    The doctor may not be able to see any obvious outward signs of the disease, other than swelling. Blood and urine tests reveal signs typical of nephrotic syndrome, including:

    • High cholesterol
    • High levels of protein in the urine
    • Low levels of albumin in the blood

    A kidney biopsy and examination of the tissue with an electron microscope can show signs of minimal change disease. An immunofluorescence exam of the biopsied kidney tissue is negative.