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Rapidly progressive (crescentic) glomerulonephritis

  • Alternative Names

    Necrotizing glomerulonephritis; Glomerulonephritis - crescentic; Crescentic glomerulonephritis


    The treatment varies with the suspected cause. The treatment goals may be a cure of the causative disorder, the control of symptoms, or the treatment of kidney failure.

    Corticosteroids may relieve symptoms in some cases. Other medications may include immunosuppressive agents including cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, and others depending on the cause of the disorder.

    Plasmapheresis may relieve the symptoms in some cases. The blood plasma (the fluid portion of blood) containing antibodies is removed and replaced with intravenous fluids or donated plasma (without antibodies). The removal of antibodies may reduce inflammation in the kidney tissues.

    Observation for a progression to renal failure, and the treatment of renal failure if it is present, should be ongoing. Dialysis or a kidney transplant may ultimately be necessary.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Without treatment, crescentic glomerulonephritis often progresses to kidney failure and end-stage renal (kidney) disease in 6 months or less, although a few cases may just go away on their own.

    Treated patients may recover some or rarely all of their original kidney function. The extent of recovery is related to the degree of kidney function at diagnosis and degree of crescent formation. The disorder may recur. If the disease occurs in childhood, it is likely that renal failure will eventually develop.

    • Congestive heart failure
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Hyperkalemia
    • Acute renal failure
    • Chronic renal failure
    • End-stage renal disease

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if symptoms indicate rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis may be present.

    If you have this disorder, call if new symptoms develop, especially irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, increased edema, or decreased urine production.