Cohort study of the treatment of severe HIV-associated nephropathy with corticosteroids

J. A. Eustace, E. Nuermberger, M. Choi, Jr Scheel, R. Moore, W. A. Briggs

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116 Scopus citations


Background. Human immunodeficiency virus-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) results in rapidly progressive azotemia. The effectiveness and safety of corticosteroids in the treatment of HIVAN, however, remains controversial. Methods. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with biopsy-proven HIVAN and progressive azotemia who were eligible for corticosteroid treatment and who had no clinical or histologic evidence of an alternative cause of acute renal failure. Selected patients were treated with 60 mg of prednisone for one month, followed by a several-month taper. Results. Twenty-one eligible patients were identified. Thirteen subjects had received corticosteroid treatment, whereas eight had not. The mean serum creatinine was 6.2 and 6.8 mg/dL, respectively (P > 0.05). The relative risk (95% CI) for progressive azotemia with corticosteroid treatment at three months was 0.20 (0.05, 0.76, P < 0.05). This association remained significant despite adjustment in separate logistical regression analyses for baseline creatinine, 24-hour proteinuria, CD4 count, history of intravenous drug use, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. In an additional logistic regression model, using backward stepwise selection of the previously mentioned covariates, only corticosteroid treatment (P = 0.02) and baseline serum creatinine (P = 0.10) were retained within the model. In the corticosteroid-treated group, the mean level of proteinuria decreased by 5.5 g/24 hour (P = 0.01). On long-term follow-up, there was no significant difference in the incidence of hospitalizations (1 per 2.1 vs. 1 per 2.3 patient months) or of serious infections (1 per 2.6 vs. 1 per 2.3 patient months), but there was a significantly longer duration of hospitalization in the corticosteroid-treated group (3.2 vs. 2 days per patient month). At six months, only one of the non-corticosteroid-treated patients but seven of the corticosteroid-treated group continued to have independent renal function (P = 0.06). Three of the corticosteroid-treated group continued to have independent function at two years of follow-up. Conclusion. A limited course of corticosteroid therapy in selected patients was beneficial and safe. Further research is required for the role of corticosteroids in the treatment of HIVAN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253-1260
Number of pages8
JournalKidney International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Azotemia
  • Dialysis
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Infection
  • Nephrotic range proteinuria
  • Viral infection


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