The course and prognosis of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome has thus far not been found to be predicted from the severity of the manifestations at the onset. Among 66 steroid-responsive nephrotic children, eight were asymptomatic without edema and identified by chance proteinuria on a urinary screening program. The selectivity index for proteinuria (a clearance ratio of IgG to transferrin) was 0.10 or less in all of the five children examined. All of the eight children responded quickly to the prednisolone therapy. Grades of proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia were lower in the asymptomatic children than in the symptomatic children who presented with edema. Median proteinuria levels were 2.0 versus 4.2 g/day/m2 (P < 0.01), respectively, and mean serum albumin levels were 2.2 ± 0.3 versus 1.8 ± 0.4 g/dl (mean ± SD; P < 0.01), respectively. None of the eight asymptomatic children relapsed for at least one year after completion of the prednisolone treatment, while, in contrast, 30 of 58 symptomatic nephrotic children relapsed during the same one-year period (P < 0.01). These findings suggest that, among steroid-responsive nephrotic children, those with mild manifestations without edema may have a milder disease and show an extremely favorable clinical course.
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