​​​Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys due to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own organs. In lupus nephritis, the SLE causes you child’s immune system to attack their kidneys, specifically glomeruli, which is the part of the kidney responsible for filtering the waste products from the blood. The exact cause of SLE is generally not known but it is believed that infections, hormones, certain medications as well as genetic factors play a role in the malfunctioning of the immune system. Lupus nephritis is not very common in children.​

Lupus nephritis may exhibit subtle or no symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms associated with this disease include:​

  • ​High blood pressure

  • Concentrated, dark urine

  • Flu-like symptoms​

  • Pains and aches in joints

  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, eyes and hands

  • Weight gain, caused by water retention when the kidneys do not function properly​​​

Seek medical advice from our doctors at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital the only internationally accredited hospital in Pakistan, if you notice the above mentioned symptoms in your child that are persistent.​
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.​

The doctor may examine your child physically and inquire about their medical history. Discuss your child’s symptoms with the doctor to help them make accurate diagnosis. For further confirmation of the disease, the doctor may suggest the following tests:

  • Urinalysis to measure the amount of proteins and to detect the presence of blood, in the urine. You may be asked to collect your child’s urine samples over the period of twenty-four hours for a precise result 

  • Blood test to measure the level of protein in the blood and filtering ability of the kidneys 

  • Ultrasound and X-rays to obtain images of the kidneys and the surrounding structures to detect any signs of damage

  • A kidney biopsy in which a sample of the kidney cells are extracted and studied under the microscope to determine the cause and extent of damage to the kidneys​​

As a parent, it can be difficult and scary for you to deal with your child’s diagnoses of lupus nephritis. But be rest assured that your child is in good hands at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital where the doctors are specifically trained to care for children and make them as comfortable as possible during the course of treatment. 

Feel free to discuss your child’s treatment plan with their doctor in detail so you feel confident in the medical care being offered to your child. The treatment options will include:

  • Medications to repress the immune system’s activity that causes damage to the kidneys    

  • Prescribed medications to decrease inflammation. These may be prescribed until the lupus nephritis improves. Such medicines can have serious side effects therefore they must be carefully monitored.

  • Medications to lower the blood  pressure if required

As lupus nephritis is a progressive disease, it can cause loss of kidney functions despite taking medications. In that case your child may have regular sessions with the dialysis, 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 ultimate treatment option is kidney transplant to replace the damaged kidney with a healthy one, obtained from a deceased or living donor​.​

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.