Assessment of Volume Status and Appropriate Fluid Replenishment in the Setting of Nephrotic Syndrome

Pierluigi Marzuillo, Stefano Guarino, Andrea Apicella, Rosaria Marotta, Vincenzo Tipo, Laura Perrone, Angela La Manna, Giovanni Montini
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2017, 52 (4): e149-e152

BACKGROUND: When the permeability of the glomerular filtration barrier increases, leading to proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome (NS) occurs. First episodes or relapses of NS can be concurrent with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) infections. This condition can cause further deterioration of the hypovolemic state, as intravascular water is lost through both AGE-related vomiting/diarrhea and NS-related fluid shifting into the interstitium. In this case report, we wish to raise the issues about the difficult management of children presenting with both NS and AGE.

CASE REPORT: We report two cases characterized by concurrence of NS and AGE. Despite our intervention, case #1 required dialysis, whereas in the case #2 we restored the patient's liquid homeostasis. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: No guidelines helping general physicians in the management of children presenting with both NS and AGE are available in the literature. However, it is common for these patients to seek the first line of treatment at emergency departments. In these patients, restoring the liquid homeostasis is a challenge, but some key points can help the physicians with first-line management: 1) carefully evaluate the signs of hypovolemia (edematous state can be misleading); 2) bear in mind that-in hypovolemic, severely hypoalbuminemic (serum albumin levels < 2 g/dL) NS children-initial fluid administration should be followed by a 20% albumin infusion if oligoanuria persists; intravenous 4.5% albumin may be a valid alternative as a first-line therapy instead of crystalloid and 20% albumin; and 3) pay attention when using furosemide; it should only be administered after albumin infusion or after hypovolemia correction.

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