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The prognoses for patients with two common causes of the nephrotic syndrome are as follows:

  • minimal change disease (MCD):
    • a third have just one episode
    • a third have infrequent relapses
    • a third have frequent relapses throughout childhood which abate during adulthood; life expectancy is normal

  • focal segmental glomerulosclerosis:
    • a third remit after a prolonged course
    • a third have continuing haematuria and proteinuria but have normal renal function
    • a third progress to end stage renal failure

In adults:

  • untreated MCD is associated with a risk of mortality due to infection and thromboembolism
  • limited data suggest that the rate of spontaneous early remission (eg, within a few months) in adults is approximately 5 to 10 percent
  • a substantial proportion of untreated patients eventually undergo remission after a prolonged period
    • only available randomized controlled trial that, in 1970, compared prednisone versus no specific therapy and included 31 patients with MCD
      • remission of proteinuria to less than 1 g/day in the control group occurred in 50 percent by 18 months and approximately 70 percent at three years
      • suuggests that the chief benefit of glucocorticoid is to induce and maintain remission until the poorly understood process responsible for MCD abates.



Last reviewed 01/2018