Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is scar tissue in the filtering unit of the kidney. This structure is called the glomerulus. The glomeruli serve as filters that help the body get rid of harmful substances. Each kidney has thousands of glomeruli.
"Focal" means that some of the glomeruli become scarred. Others remain normal. "Segmental" means that only part of an individual glomerulus is damaged.
Segmental glomerulosclerosis; Focal sclerosis with hyalinosis
The cause of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is often unknown.
The condition affects both children and adults. It occurs slightly more often in men and boys. It is also more common in African Americans. Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis causes up to a quarter of all cases of nephrotic syndrome.
Known causes include:
Drugs such as heroin, bisphosphonates, anabolic steroids
Inherited genetic problems
Reflux nephropathy (a condition in which urine flows backward from the bladder to the kidney)
Swelling, called generalized edema, from fluids held in the body
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This exam may show tissue swelling (edema) and high blood pressure. Signs of kidney (renal) failure and excess fluid may develop as the condition gets worse.
Nachman PH, Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Primary glomerular disease. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA et al, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 31.
Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in nephrology, affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.