Plasma Exchange for Renal Vasculitis and Idiopathic Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis: A Meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Plasma exchange may be effective adjunctive treatment for renal vasculitis. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of plasma exchange for renal vasculitis. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis of articles identified from electronic databases, bibliographies, and studies identified by experts. Data were abstracted in parallel by 2 reviewers. SETTING & POPULATION: Adults with idiopathic renal vasculitis or rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. SELECTION CRITERIA FOR STUDIES: Randomized controlled trials that compared standard care with standard care plus adjuvant plasma exchange in adult patients with either renal vasculitis or idiopathic rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. INTERVENTION: Adjuvant plasma exchange. OUTCOME: Composite of end-stage renal disease or death. RESULTS: We identified 9 trials including 387 patients. In a fixed-effects model, the pooled RR for end-stage renal disease or death was 0.80 for patients treated with adjunctive plasma exchange compared with standard care alone (95% CI, 0.65-0.99; P = 0.04). No significant heterogeneity was detected (P = 0.5; I(2) = 0%). The effect of plasma exchange did not differ significantly across the range of baseline serum creatinine values (P = 0.7) or number of plasma exchange treatments (P = 0.8). The RR for end-stage renal disease was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.47-0.88; P = 0.006), whereas the RR for death alone was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.71-1.4; P = 0.9). LIMITATIONS: Although the primary result was statistically significant, there is insufficient statistical information to reliably determine whether plasma exchange decreases the composite of end-stage renal disease or death. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma exchange may decrease the composite end point of end-stage renal disease or death in patients with renal vasculitis. Additional trials are required given the limited data available.


  • Walsh, Michael
  • Catapano, Fausta
  • Szpirt, Wladimir
  • Thorlund, Kristian
  • Bruchfeld, Annette
  • Guillevin, Loic
  • Haubitz, Marion
  • Merkel, Peter A
  • Peh, Chen Au
  • Pusey, Charles
  • Jayne, David

publication date

  • April 2011