Medical Q&As

Goodpasture' syndrome - explain?

My sister has been diagnosed with Goodpasture’s syndrome and is in total renal failure. Could you please forward any information you may have on the disease as I am finding it difficult to accumulate much information as it is a rare disease?

Goodpasture’s syndrome is a very rare condition that affects both the kidneys and the lungs. It is a form of autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system forms antibodies that attack the kidneys and lungs. In other words it is as if the immune system has turned against the body rather than the more traditional stance of reacting against an external threat such as bacteria or viruses. The lung disease may cause haemoptysis, which means coughing up blood. However, the syndrome usually does not cause any long term damage to the lungs. The principal negative impact of the condition is on the kidneys resulting in glomerulonephritis or inflammation of the kidneys. The kidney damage can progress to renal failure, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant. The condition is diagnosed on the basis of detecting the harmful antibody. A kidney biopsy is also usually required to confirm the diagnosis. The body continues to produce the harmful antibodies for up to a couple of years but once this process has stopped the lung symptoms disappear. Medical treatment is aimed at combating the harmful antibody and may include plasmapharesis, which is a special blood filtering process that is designed to extract the harmful antibody from the blood.