OBJECTIVES: To describe the presentation, pathology, and outcome of biopsy proved renal disease in HIV infected patients at a central London HIV unit from 1992 to 1996. METHODS: Retrospective review of a computerised database and case notes to identify patients with renal disease confirmed by antemortem percutaneous renal biopsy or necropsy. RESULTS: 17 patients were identified, 13 had biopsy and four necropsy confirmed renal disease. Abnormalities included HIV associated nephropathy (HIVAN) in seven (41%) patients, membranous glomerulonephritis (GN) in four (23%), haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in two (12%), and interstitial nephritis, rhabdomyolysis, IgA nephropathy, and membranoproliferative GN in one patient each. Although renal disease was the first presentation of HIV disease in six (35%) patients the majority had advanced HIV disease (median CD4 count 40 x 10(6)/l). The commonest presentation was acute renal failure (ARF) in 10 (59%) patients, chronic renal failure (CRF) in five (29%), and proteinuria alone in two (12%). Although the majority of patients died during the study period (9/13) only three deaths were attributable to their renal disease. Survival ranged in those with HIVAN from 0 to 31 (median 10) months and, in those with membraneous GN from 1 to 46 (median 29) months. CONCLUSIONS: HIVAN was the commonest renal disease found in this group of patients; however, a variety of other pathologies were seen with variable outcomes. All cases of HIVAN were in patients of African or Afro-Caribbean origin and for the majority this was their first presentation of HIV disease. Nephrologists need to be aware of the possibility of HIV infection in patients presenting with renal disease.
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