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Penn Medicine’s Lupus Nephritis Clinic specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of lupus nephritis or inflammation of the kidneys, caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also known as lupus. Our physicians work closely with Penn Rheumatology in a multidisciplinary manner to deliver comprehensive treatment and care for patients with lupus.

Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system targets its own tissue. Lupus can affect multiple body systems including:

  • Joints
  • Skin
  • Renal
  • Cardiac
  • Pulmonary
  • GI
  • Hematologic

Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney filter or other parts of the kidney caused by lupus. In the U.S., approximately 35 percent of adults with lupus have clinical evidence of nephritis at the time of diagnosis, with an estimated total of 50-60 percent developing nephritis during the first ten years of the disease. Early intervention is key, and if left untreated, lupus nephritis can lead to kidney failure.

Lupus Nephritis Symptoms

Symptoms of lupus nephritis may include:

  • Swelling of the extremities, face
  • Weight gain
  • Hypertension
  • Dark or foamy urine
  • More frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinary tract infections

Lupus Nephritis Diagnosis

Penn's Lupus Nephritis Clinic offers comprehensive diagnostic testing for lupus nephritis including:

  • Physical examination
  • Symptom evaluation
  • Urine test
  • Imaging tests
  • Blood tests
  • Kidney biopsy

Lupus Nephritis Treatment

At Penn, nephrologists and rheumatologists work closely together using a multidisciplinary approach. Our clinic offers patients:

  • Treatment from both a nephrologist and rheumatologist during a single clinic visit.
  • Individualized treatment plans tailored to the needs of each patient.
  • Expert, personalized care from physicians who are the best in their field.
  • One-on-one, personalized care from nurses who are specially trained in the treatment of lupus.
  • Treatment at the Infusion Center by highly skilled nurses specially trained to administer and monitor complex medications.
  • Dietary counseling by knowledgeable nutritionists.
  • Opportunities to participate in clinical trials of novel therapies or other relevant clinical studies. Penn's Lupus Program is actively developing bridges to basic and translational research and participating in clinical therapeutic trials.

Typical treatments for lupus nephritis may include:

  • Medications:
    • Prophylactic therapy to prevent relapse
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Immunosuppressive therapies
    • Hypertension medications
  • Lifestyle changes:
    • Dietary modifications
    • Smoking cessation
    • Exercise programs

In This Section

Treatment Team

Physicians at Penn Kidney offer expert evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for lupus nephritis.

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