Learn About Alport Syndrome

What is the definition of Alport Syndrome?

Alport syndrome is an inherited disorder that damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys. It also causes hearing loss and eye problems.

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What are the alternative names for Alport Syndrome?

Hereditary nephritis; Hematuria - nephropathy - deafness; Hemorrhagic familial nephritis; Hereditary deafness and nephropathy

What are the causes of Alport Syndrome?

Alport syndrome is an inherited form of kidney inflammation (nephritis). It is caused by a defect (mutation) in a gene for a protein in the connective tissue, called collagen.

The disorder is rare. There are three genetic types:

  • X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) -- This is the most common type. The disease is more severe in males than in females.
  • Autosomal recessive Alport syndrome (ARAS) -- Males and females have equally severe disease.
  • Autosomal dominant Alport syndrome (ADAS) -- This is the rarest type. Males and females have equally severe disease.
What are the symptoms of Alport Syndrome?

KIDNEYS

With all types of Alport syndrome, the kidneys are affected. The tiny blood vessels in the glomeruli of the kidneys are damaged. The glomeruli filter blood to make urine and remove waste products from the blood.

At first, there are no symptoms. Over time, as the glomeruli are more and more damaged, kidney function is lost and waste products and fluids build up in the body. The condition can progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at an early age, between adolescence and age 40. At this point, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed.

Symptoms of kidney problems include:

  • Abnormal urine color
  • Blood in the urine (which can be worsened by upper respiratory infections or exercise)
  • Flank pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling throughout the body

EARS

Over time, Alport syndrome also leads to hearing loss. By the early teens, it is common in males with XLAS, though in females, hearing loss is not as common and happens when they're adults. With ARAS, boys and girls have hearing loss during childhood. With ADAS, it occurs later in life.

Hearing loss usually occurs before kidney failure.

EYES

Alport syndrome also leads to eye problems, including:

  • Abnormal shape of the lens (anterior lenticonus), which can lead to a slow decline in vision as well as cataracts.
  • Corneal erosion in which there is loss of the outer layer of the covering of the eyeball, leading to pain, itching, or redness of the eye, or blurred vision.
  • Abnormal coloring of the retina, a condition called dot-and-fleck retinopathy. It doesn't cause vision problems, but can help diagnose Alport syndrome.
  • Macular hole in which there is thinning or a break in the macula. The macula is a part of the retina that makes central vision sharper and more detailed. A macular hole causes blurred or distorted central vision.
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What are the current treatments for Alport Syndrome?

The goals of treatment include monitoring and controlling the disease and treating the symptoms.

Your provider may recommend any of the following:

  • A diet that limits salt, fluids, and potassium
  • Medicines to control high blood pressure

Kidney disease is managed by:

  • Taking medicines to slow kidney damage
  • A diet that limits salt, fluids, and protein

Hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids. Eye problems are treated as needed. For example, an abnormal lens due to lenticonus or cataracts can be replaced.

Genetic counseling may be recommended because the disorder is inherited.

Who are the top Alport Syndrome Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
62
conditions

Chuo Ku

Kobe, JP 65000

Kandai Nozu is in Kobe, Japan. Nozu is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Alport Syndrome. They are also highly rated in 62 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Alport Syndrome, Nephrotic Syndrome, Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome, and Magnesium Deficiency.

Elite
Highly rated in
1
conditions
Pediatrics
Pediatric Nephrology

M Health Fairview

University Of Minnesota Physicians

909 Fulton St Se 
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Clifford Kashtan is a Pediatrics specialist and a Pediatric Nephrologist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Kashtan has been practicing medicine for over 44 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Alport Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Alport Syndrome and Glomerulonephritis. He is licensed to treat patients in Minnesota. Dr. Kashtan is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
19
conditions

Chuo Ku

Kobe, JP 65000

Tomohiko Yamamura is in Kobe, Japan. Yamamura is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Alport Syndrome. They are also highly rated in 19 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Alport Syndrome, Nephrotic Syndrome, Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome, and Lowe Syndrome.

What are the support groups for Alport Syndrome?

More information and support for people with Alport syndrome and their families can be found at:

  • Alport Syndrome Foundation -- www.alportsyndrome.org/for-patients/patient-resources/
  • National Kidney Foundation -- www.kidney.org/atoz/content/alport
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders -- rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/alport-syndrome
What is the outlook (prognosis) for Alport Syndrome?

Women usually have a normal lifespan with no signs of the disease except for blood in the urine. In rare cases, women have high blood pressure, swelling, and nerve deafness as a complication of pregnancy.

In men, deafness, vision problems, and end-stage kidney disease are likely by age 50.

As the kidneys fail, dialysis or a transplant will be needed.

When should I contact a medical professional for Alport Syndrome?

Contact your provider for an appointment if:

  • You have symptoms of Alport syndrome.
  • You have a family history of Alport syndrome and you are planning to have children.
  • Your urine output decreases or stops or you see blood in your urine (this may be a symptom of chronic kidney disease).
How do I prevent Alport Syndrome?

Awareness of risk factors, such as a family history of the disorder, may allow the condition to be detected early.

Kidney anatomy
What are the latest Alport Syndrome Clinical Trials?
Etude génétique Des Dilatations Des Bronches Idiopathiques en Polynésie française
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Safety and Efficacy of Early Angiotensin-converting Enzyme Inhibition in Patients With Alport Syndrome Carrying Pathogenic Heterozygous COL4A3,COL4A4 or COL4A5 Mutations
What are the Latest Advances for Alport Syndrome?
Analysis of genetic variant in a child with autosomal recessive Alport syndrome.
Congenital hepatic fibrosis and its mimics: a clinicopathologic study of 19 cases at a single institution.
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Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors in Patients with Hereditary Podocytopathies, Alport Syndrome, and FSGS: A Case Series to Better Plan a Large-Scale Study.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : July 27, 2021
Published By : Walead Latif, MD, Nephrologist and Clinical Associate Professor, Rutgers Medical School, Newark, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Gregory MC. Alport syndrome and related disorders. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, eds. National Kidney Foundation's Primer on Kidney Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 42.

Radhakrishnan J, Appel GB, D'Agati VD. Secondary glomerular disease. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 32.

Rheault MN, Kashtan CE. Alport syndrome and other familial glomerular syndromes. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 46.