Chest | Pulmonology | Goodpastures syndrome (Disease)
Goodpasture syndrome is a rare, autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and kidneys. Normally, the immune system creates antibodies to fight off germs. With Goodpasture syndrome, however, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys, instead of the germs.
Causes and Risk factors
Goodpasture syndrome may be an inherited condition, or may develop as a result of a combination of factors. What causes it is not fully understood. A reaction to certain chemicals, including hydrocarbon solvents, the weed killer Paraquat, and viral infections may play a role.
Goodpasture’s syndrome can cause people to cough up blood or feel a burning sensation when urinating. But its first signs may be vague, such as fatigue, nausea, difficulty breathing, or skin pallor. These signs are followed by kidney involvement, represented first by small amounts of blood in the urine, protein in the urine, and other clinical and laboratory findings.
Other patients present with both lung and kidney disease; however, some patients present with one of these diseases alone. The first lung symptoms usually develop days to months before kidney damage is evident.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Like many autoimmune diseases, Goodpasture’s syndrome responds well to treatment with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. These drugs dampen the bodys normal immune response and the patient may become more susceptible to infections. The concentration of anti-GBM antibodies in the blood may be reduced by apheresis to remove blood plasma and replace a portion of the plasma with an isotonic salt and protein solution. This course of treatment usually lasts between three and six months.
Unfortunately, none of these treatments can reverse permanent kidney damage and for patients who have suffered from the syndrome, renal transplant may be needed once the disease has subsided.