The exact pathophysiology of HSN remains elucidated. Hence, a therapeutic strategy that enables curative treatments for all the various grades of HSN patients has yet to be established. We report our experience performing tonsillectomy combined with steroid therapy for 16 pediatric proteinuric Henoch-Schönlein nephritis (HSN) patients. All patients exhibited hematuria and proteinuria in their first HSN attack with the mean age of onset 7.7 years (range 4.75-13.9 years). Nine patients were diagnosed with clinically severe HSN presenting with massive proteinuria (>1 g/m2/day). Renal biopsy findings performed in 6 patients were Grade II (3), Grade III (2) and Grade IV (1) according to the International Study of Kidney Diseases in childhood classification. Tonsillectomy was performed after 1-4 cycles of methylprednisolone pulses during oral prednisolone (0.5-1.5 mg/kg/day) therapy. In 2 patients, oral cyclophosphamide therapy was added before the tonsillectomy. The interval between the onset of HSN and tonsillectomy was 97.4 ± 24.5 days (range 27-424 days). In all patients, proteinuria had disappeared by 6 months after the tonsillectomy and the urine findings had normalized. The interval between therapy initiation and complete remission was 9.6 ± 2.0 months (range 2-26 months). Over follow-up periods of 4.9 ± 0.6 years (range 2.2-9.3 years), no recurrences of Henoch-Schönlein purpura or HSN were observed. There was a significant correlation between early tonsillectomy performance and decreased time until normalization of the urine findings, indicating that the tonsils may have pivotal roles in the initiation and progression of HSN. Their elimination might promote the reversal of nephritis. Although this study is retrospective, we suggested that tonsillectomy at an early stage of HSN may be beneficial by shortening the period of illness and contributing to clinical recovery. Randomized controlled trials will be needed to confirm this supposition.
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