Nephrotic syndrome in childhood is a common entity in the field of pediatric nephrology. The optimal treatment of children with nephrotic syndrome is often debated. Previously conducted studies have shown significant variability in nephrotic syndrome management, especially in the choice of steroid-sparing drugs. In the Netherlands, a practice guideline on the management of childhood nephrotic syndrome has been available since 2010. The aim of this study was to identify practice variations and opportunities to improve clinical practice of childhood nephrotic syndrome in the Netherlands. A digital structured survey among Dutch pediatricians and pediatric nephrologists was performed, including questions regarding the initial treatment, relapse treatment, kidney biopsy, additional immunosuppressive treatment, and supportive care. Among the 51 responses, uniformity was seen in the management of a first presentation and first relapse. Wide variation was found in the tapering of steroids after alternate day dosing. Most pediatricians and pediatric nephrologists (83%) would perform a kidney biopsy in case of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome, whereas for frequent relapsing and steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome this was 22% and 41%, respectively. Variation was reported in the steroid-sparing treatment. Finally, significant differences were present in the supportive treatment of nephrotic syndrome. Conclusion: Substantial variation was present in the management of nephrotic syndrome in the Netherlands. Differences were identified in steroid tapering, use of steroid coverage during stress, choice of steroid-sparing agents, and biopsy practice. To promote guideline adherence and reduce practice variation, factors driving this variation should be assessed and resolved.What is Known:• National and international guidelines are available to guide the management of childhood nephrotic syndrome.• Several aspects of the management of childhood nephrotic syndrome, including the choice of steroid-sparing drugs and biopsy practice, are controversial and often debated among physicians.What is New:• Significant practice variation is present in the management of childhood nephrotic syndrome in the Netherlands, especially in the treatment of FRNS, SDNS, and SRNS.• The recommendation on the steroid treatment of a first episode of nephrotic syndrome in the KDIGO guideline leaves room for interpretation and is likely the cause of substantial differences in steroid-tapering practices among Dutch pediatricians and pediatric nephrologists.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Schijvens and Dr. Schreuder report a grant from the Dutch Kidney Foundation (awarded to Dr. Schreuder) during the conduct of the study. The other authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.
© 2021, The Author(s).