Oxalate nephropathy associated with chronic pancreatitis

Claire Cartery, Stanislas Faguer, Alexandre Karras, Olivier Cointault, Louis Buscail, Anne Modesto, David Ribes, Lionel Rostaing, Dominique Chauveau, Patrick Giraud
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: CJASN 2011, 6 (8): 1895-902

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Enteric overabsorption of oxalate may lead to hyperoxaluria and subsequent acute oxalate nephritis (AON). AON related to chronic pancreatitis is a rare and poorly described condition precluding early recognition and treatment.

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: We collected the clinical characteristics, treatment, and renal outcome of 12 patients with chronic pancreatitis-associated AON followed in four French renal units.

RESULTS: Before AON, mild to moderate chronic kidney disease was present in all patients, diabetes mellitus in eight (insulin [n = 6]; oral antidiabetic drugs [n = 2]), and known chronic pancreatitis in only eight. At presentation, pancreas imaging showed gland atrophy/heterogeneity, Wirsung duct dilation, calcification, or pseudocyst. Renal findings consisted of rapidly progressive renal failure with tubulointerstitial profile. Acute modification of glomerular filtration preceded the AON (i.e., diarrhea and diuretics). Increase in urinary oxalate excretion was found in all tested patients and hypocalcemia in nine (<1.5 mmol/L in four patients). Renal biopsy showed diffuse crystal deposits, highly suggestive of oxalate crystals, with tubular necrosis and interstitial inflammatory cell infiltrates. Treatment consisted of pancreatic enzyme supplementation, oral calcium intake, and an oxalate-free diet in all patients and renal replacement therapy in five patients. After a median follow-up of 7 months, three of 12 patients reached end-stage renal disease.

CONCLUSION: AON is an under-recognized severe crystal-induced renal disease with features of tubulointerstitial nephritis that may occur in patients with a long history of chronic pancreatitis or reveal the pancreatic disease. Extrinsic triggering factors should be prevented.

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