New Research Offers Optimism though Underscores Disparities in Children with Lupus-related Kidney Disease
Newly published data on children with lupus-related kidney disease reveals some good news. In a large and diverse group of study participants throughout North America, researchers found just under one-third (32%) developed lupus nephritis (LN), or lupus-related kidney disease in line with earlier estimates that up to 30-55% of children with lupus develop LN.
Importantly, of the children who developed LN during the study period, nearly all (93%) were diagnosed within the first two years of their lupus diagnosis, potentially indicating improvements in understanding of LN risk factors and changes in clinical practices allowing clinicians to catch and diagnose kidney disease earlier. In short-term follow-up visits, most children with LN demonstrated stable or improved kidney function, and end stage kidney disease (the most advanced stage of chronic kidney disease) was rare (1.4%). These findings highlight the importance of routine kidney screenings in children newly diagnosed with lupus and the potential benefits of early detection.
However, the study also confirmed previous study findings showing that Black children with lupus were more likely to experience a decline in kidney function and had worse kidney health outcomes than non-Black children with lupus. Faster kidney disease progression is associated with higher disease and mortality risk, and addressing such health disparities in lupus is vitally important.
“Our study evaluated lupus nephritis and assessed the short-term outcomes in patients with childhood onset lupus nephritis. It will serve as a springboard for long-term outcome studies in children,” said lead study author, Kathleen Vazzana, MD
The Lupus Foundation of America provided funding for this research through its partnership with the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA). Learn more about childhood lupus and the LFA and CARRA partnership.
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