Bartter syndrome (patient information)
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Bartter syndrome On the Web
Bartter syndrome refers to a rare group of genetic conditions that affect the kidneys. People with Bartter syndrome have a loss of potassium (hypokalemic alkalosis) and a rise in the hormone aldosterone.
What are the symptoms of Bartter syndrome?
This disease usually occurs in childhood. Symptoms include:
Gitelman syndrome can present with similar symptoms.
What causes Bartter syndrome?
The condition is thought to be caused by a defect in the kidney's ability to reabsorb potassium. As a result, the kidneys remove too much potassium from the body. This is also known as potassium wasting.
Who is at highest risk?
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if your child is:
The diagnosis of Bartter syndrome is usually made by finding low levels of potassium in the blood. The potassium level is usually less than 2.5 mEq/L. Unlike other forms of kidney disease, this condition does not cause high blood pressure. Other signs of this syndrome include:
- High levels of potassium, calcium, and chloride in the urine
- High levels of the hormones renin and aldosterone in the blood
- Low blood chloride
- Metabolic alkalosis
In Bartter syndrome, a biopsy of the kidney typically shows too much growth of kidney cells called the juxtaglomerular apparatus. However, this is not found in all patients, especially in young children.
Many patients also need salt and magnesium supplements, as well as medicine that blocks the kidney's ability to get rid of potassium. High doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be used.
Where to find medical care for Bartter syndrome?
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
The long-term outlook for patients with Bartter syndrome is not certain. Infants who have severe growth failure may grow normally with treatment. Although most patients remain well with ongoing treatment, some develop kidney failure.
Kidney failure is a possible complication.