Adjuvant corticosteroids for prevention of kidney scarring in children with acute pyelonephritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Acute pyelonephritis in children may result in permanent kidney scarring that is primarily caused by inflammation during acute infection. Antibiotic therapy alone is not enough to significantly reduce kidney scarring, and adjuvant corticosteroid therapy has shown a significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines in urine prompting its evaluation in randomised controlled trials. A few clinical trials showed a trend towards a reduction in renal scarring but did not have an adequate sample size to show a significant effect. Therefore, we planned to synthesise the available evidence on the role of corticosteroids as adjuvant therapy in reducing kidney scarring.To assess the efficacy and safety of adjuvant corticosteroid therapy for the prevention of kidney scarring in children with acute pyelonephritis.Systematic review and meta-analysis.Community-acquired febrile urinary tract infections.Children (less than 18 years) with acute pyelonephritis.Adjuvant corticosteroid therapy (along with antibiotic treatment).Primary: efficacy in preventing kidney scarring; secondary: serious adverse events associated with corticosteroid therapy.Three randomised trials (529 children) were included. Corticosteroids are effective in lowering the risk of kidney scarring as compared with placebo (risk ratio (RR): 0.57; 95% CI 0.36 to 0.90). No significant increase risk of bacteraemia (RR: 1.38; 95% CI 0.23 to 8.23) and hospitalisation (RR: 0.87; 95% CI 0.3 to 2.55) was observed in corticosteroid group.Moderate quality evidence suggests that short duration ‘adjuvant corticosteroid therapy’ along with routine antibiotic therapy in acute febrile urinary tract infection significantly reduces the risk of kidney scarring without any significant adverse effects.

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Authors: Jitendra Meena, Jogender Kumar