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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Monitoring Kidney Dysfunction in Kugelberg-Welander Syndrome

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Michael West, Michelle M. Nash, Lindita Rapi, Adriana Krizova, G.V. Ramesh Prasad

Canada Kidney Transplant Program, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada

Am J Case Rep 2019; 20:441-446

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.914458

Available online: 2019-04-03

Published: 2019-04-03


BACKGROUND: Kugelberg-Welander (K-W) syndrome is a type of spinal muscular atrophy that causes weakness of the hip-girdle muscles. If severe enough, this weakness can confine patients to a wheelchair in adult life. Proteinuria, a manifestation of kidney dysfunction, is associated with disorders of many organ systems. The evaluation of kidney function in the context of K-W syndrome is challenging.
CASE REPORT: A 45-year-old man with K-W syndrome first diagnosed at 5 years of age developed peripheral edema and was found to have proteinuria under 1 g/24 h. His past history was significant for hypertension for 7 years. He was managed conservatively initially, but over the next year the serum creatinine concentration increased from 18 to 32 µmol/L (0.2 to 0.36 mg/dL). A percutaneous kidney biopsy was performed in the fetal position due to an inability of the patient to lay prone or supine. Minimal change disease (MCD) was diagnosed. Treatment consisted of dietary salt restriction, ramipril, amiloride, and hydrochlorothiazide, while avoiding corticosteroids. The serum creatinine concentration initially returned to the 18-20 µmol/L (0.2-0.22 mg/dL) range with increased fluid intake, but then slowly declined to 6 µmol/L (0.07 mg/dL) over the next 14 years. Muscle strength remained poor.
CONCLUSIONS: K-W syndrome, when associated with proteinuria, presents novel diagnostic and therapeutic challenges to the latter. The serum creatinine concentration may be unhelpful in assessing kidney function in K-W syndrome. A conservative management approach to MCD is reasonable to minimize comorbidity.

Keywords: Creatinine, Motor Neuron Disease, Nephrosis, Lipoid, Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood