Goodpasture syndrome

kidney puzzle
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
February 4, 2022

Goodpasture syndrome is a group of conditions that affects the kidneys and the lungs. It includes glomerulonephritis, bleeding in the lungs and a problem with your immune system that causes it to attack the tiny filters in your kidneys and the tissue in your lungs. The damage to your kidneys can lead to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. If Goodpasture syndrome is not diagnosed and treated quickly, it can cause death.

Doctors and researchers are not sure what causes Goodpasture syndrome. Some behaviors, such as smoking and using hair dye, might make you more likely to get Goodpasture syndrome.

The first signs of Goodpasture syndrome usually include tiredness, nausea, vomiting and weakness. The disease can get worse very quickly and can cause coughing and make it hard for you to catch your breath. Kidney problems can begin at the same time as the lung problems, and might include:

If your doctor thinks you could have Goodpasture syndrome, you might need to have blood and urine tests, a chest X-ray and a kidney biopsy.

If your tests show that you have Goodpasture syndrome, your doctor might tell you to take medicines to weaken your immune system. These medicines are called immunosuppressants. Another treatment option is called plasmapheresis (plaz-muh-fuh-REE-sis), which also helps to weaken your immune system by taking out some of the tools it uses to attack your tissues. Most of the time, the damage to your lungs is not permanent, but the damage to your kidneys is permanent. If your kidney damage leads to kidney failure, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.

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