Functional and structural abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract in severely malnourished children - A hospital based study

Misbah Anjum, Khemchand Netaram Moorani, Ifra Sameen, Muhammad Ayaz Mustufa, Shazia Kulsoom


Objectives: The association of malnutrition and systemic diseases like chronic kidney disease (CKD) is well known. Various urinary tract abnormalities may be associated with malnutrition. So objective of current study was to determine the frequency of functional and structural urinary tract abnormalities in severely malnourished children admitted in Nutritional Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) of a tertiary care facility, Karachi.

Methods: This descriptive cases series of 78 children was conducted in NRU from October 2014 - March 2015. All newly admitted children aged 2-60 months, diagnosed as Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) were studied and children with known kidney and urinary tract disorders were excluded. Detailed history, examination and investigations like serum creatinine, ultrasound kidney and urinary tract in addition to routine tests for SAM, were done. A proforma was used to collect demographic data, clinical history, physical findings, and radio-imaging and biochemical investigations. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was calculated using Schwartz equation. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Among 78 children, male to female ratio was equal. Mean age was 18±15.53 months and majority (79.48%) of children were below 24 months. Majority (82%) of children with SAM had marasmus whereas 18% had edematous malnutrition. Out of 78, 57 (73%) children had either functional (80.7%) and or structural (19.3%) abnormalities whereas 21(36.84%) had normal functional and structural status. Most common functional abnormality was subnormal GFR (<90ml/min/1.73 m2) found in all 46 children. Functional abnormities were more common in children below 24 months.  Other functional disorders were Bartter syndrome, renal tubular acidosis and urinary tract infection (UTI) found in two cases each. Common structural abnormalities were echogenic kidneys (n=4, 36%), hydronephrosis (n=3, 27%), hypoplastic kidneys (n=3, 27%) and calculi (n=1, 9%). Subnormal GFR was also found in all cases with structural abnormalities. UTI was observed exclusively in two children among 11 with structural abnormalities.

Conclusion: A high frequency of functional abnormalities and noticeable proportion of structural abnormalities of urinary tract were detected in children with SAM. Current finding suggest that multicenter study at national level may be undertaken to generate better data about prevalence of renal diseases in SAM.


How to cite this:Anjum M, Moorani KN, Sameen I, Mustufa MA, Kulsoom S. Functional and structural abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract in severely malnourished children - A hospital based study. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(5):1135-1140.   doi:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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