Amiloride resolves resistant edema and hypertension in a patient with nephrotic syndrome: a case report

Gitte R. Hinrichs*, Line A. Mortensen, Boye L. Jensen, Claus Bistrup

*Corresponding author for this work

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Sodium and fluid retention is a hallmark and a therapeutic challenge of the nephrotic syndrome (NS). Studies support the “overfill” theory of NS with pathophysiological proteolytic activation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) which explains the common observation of suppressed renin –angiotensin system and poor therapeutic response to ACE inhibitors. Blockade of ENaC by the diuretic amiloride would be a rational intervention compared to the traditionally used loop diuretics. We describe a 38-year-old male patient with type1 diabetes who developed severe hypertension (200/140 mmHg), progressive edema (of at least 10 L), and overt proteinuria (18.5 g/24 h), despite combined administration of five antihypertensive drugs. Addition of amiloride (5 mg/day) to treatment resulted in resolution of edema, weight loss of 7 kg, reduction in blood pressure (150/100–125/81 mmHg), increased 24 h urinary sodium excretion (127–165 mmol/day), decreased eGFR (41–29 mL/min), and increased plasma potassium concentration (4.6–7.8 mmol/L). Blocking of ENaC mobilizes nephrotic edema and lowers blood pressure in NS. However, acute kidney injury and dangerous hyperkalemia is a potential risk if amiloride is added to multiple other antihypertensive medications as ACEi and spironolactone. The findings support that ENaC is active in NS and is a relevant target in adult NS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13743
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number12
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.


  • ENaC
  • plasmin
  • protease
  • proteinuria

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