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Bartter's syndrome in Arabic children: review of 13 cases.

BACKGROUND: Bartter's syndrome (BS) is an inherited disease of renal potassium wasting characterized by hypokalemic alkalosis, normal blood pressure, vascular insensitivity to pressor agents and elevated plasma concentrations of renin and aldosterone. It is caused by generalized hyperplasia of the juxtaglomerular apparatus at the site of renin production caused by mutations in the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter gene, NKCC2. The objective of our study is to establish the prevalence and incidence of BS in Kuwait and to assess treatment modalities for it.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Bartter's syndrome was diagnosed in 13 Kuwaiti children over a 14 year period (1981-1995) with the estimated incidence of 1.7/100,000 live births. The mean age at diagnosis was 9.3 months (range 2-32 months). There were five males and eight females (ratio 1:1.6). The mean duration of follow up was 5.6 years (1-14 years). Both consanguinity and familial history among our patients were high (69 and 54%, respectively). All patients had hypokalemia, hypochloremia with metabolic alkalosis, hyperreninemia and were normotensive. Clinical presentation was essentially similar to that in other series. Eleven patients (85%) had growth failure, two had nephrocalcinosis (15%) and one had renal failure. All patients were treated with supplemental potassium, an aldosterone antagonist (spironolactone) and a prostaglandin synthetase inhibitor (indomethacin or aspirin) sequentially. Significant catch-up of growth (four patients) and increases in serum potassium (eight patients) were recorded after administration of indomethacin therapy. One patient died of severe pneumonia with respiratory failure from hypokalemic myopathy. Clinical presentation, inheritance, complications and therapy of BS are briefly discussed.

CONCLUSION: Bartter's syndrome is a rare disease, but should be considered in the differential diagnosis of other disorders with growth failure and/or hypokalemia. Early diagnosis, close follow up and compliance with treatment may lead to appropriate growth and development.

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