Well Preserved Renal Function in Children With Untreated Chronic Liver Disease

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Objectives:On the basis of studies with hepatorenal syndrome, it is widely regarded that renal function is impacted in chronic liver disease (CLD). Therefore, we investigated renal function in children with CLD.Methods:In a retrospective study of 277 children with CLD, renal function was investigated as glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal plasma flow (ERPF), measured as clearance of inulin and para-amino hippuric acid or clearance of iohexol. The data were analyzed with regard to different subgroups of liver disease and to the grade of damage.Results:Hyperfiltration (>+2 SD of controls) was found in the subgroups of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (44%), glycogenosis (75%), and acute fulminant liver failure (60%). Patients with biliary atresia, most other patients with metabolic disease and intrahepatic cholestasis, and those with vascular anomalies and cryptogenic cirrhosis had normal renal function. Decreased renal function was found in patients with Alagille's syndrome (64% < −2 SD). Increased GFR and ERPF was found in patients with elevated transaminases, low prothrombin level, high bile acid concentration, and high aspartate-aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio.Conclusions:Most children with CLD had surprisingly well preserved renal function and certain groups had even hyperfiltration. The finding that children with decompensated liver disease and ongoing liver failure had stable kidney function suggests that no prognostic markers of threatening hepatorenal syndrome were at hand. Moreover, estimation of GFR based on serum creatinine fails to reveal hyperfiltration.

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