Kidney Complications – Scleroderma Renal Crisis (SRC)

What is Scleroderma Renal Crisis (SRC)?

In systemic scleroderma, the kidneys can be damaged due to a sudden and severe increase in blood pressure. This is called scleroderma renal crisis (SRC).

Scleroderma Renal Crisis is very serious. There are risks that can help identify it early. Scleroderma renal crisis risks include:

  • Rapidly progressing diffuse systemic sclerosis, often within the first year.
  • Having tendon friction rubs
  • Prior use of high dose corticosteroids
  • Presence of anti-RNA polymerase III
  • New anemia, a possible early clue to the onset of SRC
  • Cardiac events, like cardiac insufficiency or pericardial effusion, may precede SRC

Symptoms of Scleroderma Renal Crisis

Sudden onset of high blood pressure (hypertension) of more than 150/85mmHg is the key symptom of renal crisis. It causes an almost immediate decrease in kidney function.

Symptoms to watch for are:

  • Headache
  • Visual disturbances
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • General malaise
  • Changes in blood or urine chemistry
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs)

Scleroderma Renal Crisis Treatments

One class of antihypertensive medications known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are effective, although many patients require more than one drug. If the blood pressure can be promptly and completely controlled, kidney injury can be prevented and over time can reverse.

What can you do?

  • Learn how to measure your blood pressure and do so at least every other day.
  • Avoid or minimize the use of Corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs.