Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
MyChart
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Banner
Health Illustrated Encyclopedia

Disclaimer:
Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Bartter syndrome

Definition

Bartter syndrome refers to a group of rare conditions that affect the kidneys.

See also: Aldosterone test

Alternative Names

Potassium wasting; Salt-wasting nephropathy

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

There are five gene defects known to be associated with Bartter syndrome. The condition is present from before birth (congenital).

The condition is thought to be caused by a defect in the kidney's ability to reabsorb sodium. Persons with Bartter syndrome lose too much sodium through the urine. This causes a rise in the level of the hormone aldosterone and makes the kidneys remove too much potassium from the body. This is known as potassium wasting. The condition also results in an abnormal acid balance in the blood called hypokalemic alkalosis.

Symptoms

This disease usually occurs in childhood. Symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Growth failure
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Kidney stone
  • Muscle cramping and weakness

Signs and tests

The diagnosis of Bartter syndrome is usually suspected by finding low levels of potassium in the blood. The potassium level is usually less than 2.5 mEq/L. Unlike other forms of kidney disease, this condition does not cause high blood pressure and there is a tendency toward low blood pressure. Other signs of this syndrome include:

These same signs and symptoms can also occur in people who have taken too many diuretics or laxatives. Urine tests can be done to rule out these causes.

In Bartter syndrome, a biopsy of the kidney typically shows too much growth of kidney cells called the juxtaglomerular apparatus. However, this is not found in all patients, especially in young children.

Treatment

Bartter syndrome is treated by keeping the blood potassium level above 3.5 mEq/L. This is done by following a diet rich in potassium or taking potassium supplements.

Many patients also need salt and magnesium supplements, as well as medicine that blocks the kidney's ability to get rid of potassium. High doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be used.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The long-term outlook for patients with Bartter syndrome is not certain. Infants who have severe growth failure may grow normally with treatment. Although most patients remain well with ongoing treatment, some develop kidney failure.

Complications

Kidney failure is a possible complication.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if your child is:

  • Having muscle cramps
  • Not growing well
  • Urinating frequently

Prevention

References

Tolkoff-Rubin N. Treatment of irreversible renal failure. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 133.

Mitch WE. Chronic kidney disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 131.

Guay-Woodford LM. Hereditary nephropathies and abnormalities of the urinary tract. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 129.

View Spanish Version

Encyclopedia Home
Drug Note Home
Health Information Home

Images

Care Points
    Read More

    Review Date: 11/30/2009

    Review By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Herbert Y. Lin, MD, PHD, Nephrologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

    www.adam.com
    www.mercyweb.org
    follow us online
    facebook youtube


    Contact us
    Home  |  Sitemap

    Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
    Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 2/16/2011