Interstitial Nephritis

Interstitial nephritis is the inflammation of the spaces between the kidney tubules. The main function of the kidneys is to filter the waste products from the blood. The kidney tubules reabsorb water and important organic substances from the kidney filtrate and secrete the waste products into the filtrate to be removed by urination. Swelling of these tubules can lead to malfunctioning of the kidneys. Interstitial nephritis can be acute (temporary) or chronic (long-lasting). Acute interstitial nephritis can be caused by:

  • Infections such as Streptococcal, herpes, mumps, hepatitis C, HIV

  • Medicines such as antibiotics, anti-ulcer drugs, NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) and diuretics 

  • Autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus which causes your child’s immune system to attack the kidneys

In children, most often, the cause of interstitial nephritis is infection.​

Symptoms of interstitial nephritis include:

  • Decrease in urine output

  • Blood in urine

  • Fever​

  • Rash

  • Swelling 

  • Weight gain due to water retention

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and Vomiting​

Make an appointment for consultation with our internationally trained staff at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan, if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms in your child.​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

In the beginning of the diagnoses, the doctor may carry out a physical exam of your child which may reveal abnormal lungs and heart sounds, elevated blood pressure and fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Pulmonary edema is a common sign of kidney failure. To determine the exact cause of kidney failure, the doctor may propose a series of tests, including:​

  • Blood test to measure:

    • ​CBC (Complete Blood Count)

    • BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) test to measure nitrogen in the blood

    • Creatinine levels in the blood

    • Blood gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood

  • Urinalysis to determine the presence of proteins in the urine. You may be asked to collect your child’s urine samples over the period of twenty-four hours for an accurate result

  • Ultrasound to obtain images of the kidneys to detect any signs of damage

  • A kidney biopsy in which a sample of the kidney cells is extracted using a special needle and studied under the microscope to determine the cause and extent of damage to the kidney​

To discover the presence of any kind of disease in your child can be confusing and worrying. But interstitial nephritis is a short-term disorder and can be treated successfully if caught early. To provide your child with the best possible treatment available, visit the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital which offers multidisciplinary medical care under one roof.

A personalized treatment plan will be devised for your child depending on the cause of the disorder. Treatment options to relieve the symptoms include:

  • Avoiding, reducing the dosage, or changing the medication that is causing interstitial nephritis

  • Decreasing salt and fluid intake to improve swelling and high blood pressure

  • Following a low-protein diet to control the build-up of waste products to help improve kidney function

  • Taking prescribed medications to reduce inflammation and fight the bacterial infection

In severe cases, your child may require dialysis for a short period of time. Dialysis is a special procedure in which a machine performs the kidney functions which include filtering harmful wastes, salt, and excess fluid from your child’s blood.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.