pulmonary-renal syndrome: causes, symptoms and treatment

December 6, 2022

Pulmonary-renal syndrome (PRS) affects your lungs and kidneys and must be diagnosed and treated quickly.

What is Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome?

It’s a group of diseases primarily caused by preexisting autoimmune disorders that affect the tissues and blood vessels in your lungs and kidneys. PRS leads to bleeding in the tiny air sacs in your lungs, disrupting the gas exchange that occurs when you breathe. This condition inflames kidney filters, or glomeruli, resulting in kidney failure.

What Causes Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome?

Goodpasture Syndrome: The body produces antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys.

Granulomatosis: This condition causes kidney inflammation and bleeding in the lungs’ air sacs or alveoli.

Glomerulonephritis: The glomeruli become inflamed, resulting in kidney damage.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: This disease is the most common type of lupus. The immune system attacks blood vessels and joint, skin, brain, lung and kidney tissues.

Symptoms of Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome

  • Throat irritation
  • Cough, which may produce blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Fever
  • Bloody urine
  • Swelling in hands, lower legs, ankles, feet, face and abdomen

How is Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome Diagnosed?

A PRS diagnosis requires a chest X-ray to determine if the alveoli are bleeding, which appear as white patches on the results. A blood test is taken to check your red blood cell count, and a urine test confirms if there is blood in your urine.

You may also receive a bronchoscopy. A thin tube is inserted into your throat to view your air passages and check for pus, blood and inflammation. A biopsy of lung and kidney tissues may be necessary as well.

Pulmonary-Renal Syndrome Treatment

PRS is treated by addressing underlying autoimmune diseases. You may be prescribed medications such as corticosteroids to stop the production of the autoantibodies that attack your lungs and kidneys.

A plasma exchange from a donor removes abnormal red blood cells and slows the development of PRS. Dialysis can treat kidney disease by removing toxins, waste and excess fluid from your blood.

Embassy Healthcare’s Empower Renal program provides dedicated dialysis services. You’ll receive round-the-clock nursing care, pain management and dietary support to help you live comfortably. Call 216-378-2050 to learn more about our renal care and schedule a tour.