Patients with nephrotic syndrome are at an increased risk of thromboembolic events (TEs). However, this association has not been thoroughly investigated in adult patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN).
A retrospective analysis of all 101 consecutive adult patients with MN diagnosed at our centre during 1995 to 2008 was performed. Pertinent data including thromboembolic events and the risk factors for TEs were recorded.
The cohort was followed for 7.2 ± 3 years. Out of 78 patients with IMN, 15 (19.2%) had at least one TE. No TEs occurred six months after diagnosis. The incidence of TEs in the first 6 months of diagnosis was 7.69% (95%CI, 2.5-17.0) and all patients except one had venous TEs. At the time of diagnosis of MN, the patients with TEs had lower serum albumin (1.9 ± 0.5 vs. 2.4 ± 0.4 g/dl, TE vs. no TE; p < 0.01) and greater serum cholesterol (414 ± 124 vs. 317 ± 108 mg/dl, TE vs. no TE; p = 0.01) and 24-h proteinuria (10.7 ± 3 vs. 7.1 ± 4 g, TE vs. no TE; p < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, cholesterol and creatinine revealed, an odds ratio of 0.8 (95% CI 0.7 – 0.96; p = 0.01) for every one g/dl increase in baseline serum albumin and, an odds ratio of 1.3 (95% CI 1.05-1.58; p = 0.01) for one gram increase in 24-h proteinuria, for TEs.
Our study finding confirms IMN as a prothrombotic state particularly in the first six months of diagnosis. Proteinuria, in addition to hypoalbuminemia, is a risk factor for TEs. These results have important implications for clinical care of patients with IMN, particularly with regards to initiation and duration of prophylactic anticoagulation.