Do crescentic nephritis and RPGN describe the same syndrome?
Although the terms crescentic nephritis and RPGN are used interchangeably, these diagnoses are not synonymous.
RPGN describes a clinical syndrome of rapid loss of kidney function over days to weeks in patients with evidence of glomerulonephritis. In contrast, crescentic nephritis is a histopathologic description of kidney biopsy specimens, which demonstrate the presence of crescents in more than 50% of glomeruli.
Biopsies of patients with RPGN very commonly reveal crescentic nephritis.
However, RPGN can occur in the absence of crescentic nephritis, and extensive glomerular crescent formation is rarely identified in kidney biopsy specimens from patients without the clinical syndrome of RPGN.