Bartter syndrome : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Potassium wasting, Salt-wasting nephropathy

Definition

Bartter syndrome refers to a group of rare conditions that affect the kidneys.

See also: Aldosterone test

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

There are five gene defects known to be associated with Bartter syndrome. The condition is present from before birth (congenital).

The condition is thought to be caused by a defect in the kidney’s ability to reabsorb sodium. Persons with Bartter syndrome lose too much sodium through the urine. This causes a rise in the level of the hormone aldosterone and makes the kidneys remove too much potassium from the body. This is known as potassium wasting. The condition also results in an abnormal acid balance in the blood called hypokalemic alkalosis.

Pictures & Images

Aldosterone level test

Aldosterone is a hormone released by the adrenal glands. It is part of the complex mechanism used by the body to regulate blood pressure. Aldosterone increases the reabsorption of sodium and the excretion of potassium in the distal tubules of the kidneys. The reabsorption of sodium is accompanied by the reabsorption of water, which raises blood pressure.


Review Date : 11/30/2009
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Herbert Y. Lin, MD, PHD, Nephrologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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