The current classification system for kidney complications in patients with lupus is too detailed, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The results should make it easier for physicians to classify and treat kidney problems in patients with the disease.
People with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) can experience a number of medical complications, including lupus nephritis, an inflammatory kidney disorder. Lupus nephritis affects approximately 3 out of every 10,000 people, and it can be serious and lead to kidney failure.
Classifying the severity of patients' lupus nephritis can help physicians choose appropriate therapies. The World Health Organization created a classification system that divided cases into six classes based on severity, and in 2003, the International Society of Nephrology and the Renal Pathology Society proposed some revisions. One of the most important changes subdivided class IV (when 50% or more of the kidney is diseased) into a segmental form and a global form depending on exactly how much of the kidney is affected.
This new classification of class IV lupus nephritis resulted from a study of 86 patients that suggested a difference in health outcomes, such as kidney failure, between those with segmental and global forms of the disease.