What tests are used to diagnose FSGS?
FSGS is a type of nephrotic syndrome, which is diagnosed by blood and urine testing as well as a physical examination. Laboratory testing may show extra protein in the urine, low protein levels in the blood, as well as elevated levels of fat in the blood. Lab testing may also show abnormal kidney function. Other conditions and forms of nephrotic syndrome may cause similar laboratory findings, so your child’s doctor needs do a kidney biopsy to make a specific diagnosis of FSGS. We confirm a diagnosis if the kidney biopsy shows the kind of scarring in the filtering units of the kidneys that is associated with FSGS.
In some cases, we can use genetic testing to identify specific changes in common genes coding for the protein building blocks in the kidney. These tests can sometimes help doctors make the diagnosis and guide treatment and prognosis.
What to expect from a kidney biopsy
Our hospital can perform a kidney biopsy as an outpatient procedure. When patients are scheduled for a kidney biopsy, we ask them to come with an empty stomach. We’ll place an IV in order to give medication during the procedure. Depending on the child, they will be sedated or asleep in order to eliminate stress and pain as much as possible.
For the procedure, we insert a needle through the back and onto the surface of the kidney. The doctor will be able to find the right position for the needle using real-time ultrasound. Using the needle, we’ll remove a few small pieces of kidney tissue for examination. This part of the biopsy takes about one hour. We’ll monitor the patient for several hours after the biopsy to ensure there are no complications, after which the child can go home.
Our team analyzes the tissue sample under a microscope and performs several tests, which takes a few days. Once the biopsy results are available a few days after the procedure, we will discuss them with the patient and family and develop a personalized treatment plan together.
Why choose us for FSGS testing?
Children’s Hospital Colorado offers a complete array of child-specific diagnostic and treatment options for FSGS. Kidney biopsies are performed by a team of experienced pediatric specialists, with sedation, anesthesia and pain control tailored to each child’s individual needs. For the final diagnosis, our expert team have vast experience performing kidney biopsies.