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Henoch Schonlein Purpura (HSP)

HSP is a condition first described over a century ago by some European pediatricians. While we do not know the exact cause, it appears to be an unusual response to some sort of infection, most often respiratory.


HSP is usually seen in young children, and often begins with a rash on the legs and buttocks. There may be pain and swelling in the joints and abdominal pain as well. The most concerning feature of HSP is kidney involvement. This is usually signaled by blood and protein in the urine. In severe cases there may be high blood pressure, edema (body swelling), and even some changes in blood chemicals. HSP in the kidneys is a form of glomerulonephritis.


Mild kidney involvement in HSP usually requires nothing more than regular observation. Some children may require medication for edema or high blood pressure. In very severe cases, nephrologists may employ some medications such as steroids to control the inflammation in the kidney.