Goodpasture Syndrome

What is Goodpasture Syndrome?

Goodpasture syndrome or GPS is an autoimmune disorder, which affects the underlying membranes of the kidney and liver. The disease occurs when the body’s defense system produces antibodies against collagen and attacks lungs and kidneys. Collagen is a type of protein, which helps in the formation of connectivity tissues.

Goodpasture syndrome is also known as antiglomerular basement antibody disease or anti-GBM. The initial symptoms of the disease are mild and misleading, such as fatigue, etc., which are common with other disorders too. If not diagnosed and treated on time, it is fatal and can even claim life.


The symptoms of the disease may begin to show slowly over a period of time, but develops rapidly within days and weeks. The signs of the disease are:

  • Loss of appetite, weakness, and fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Difficulty in breathing, as it affects the lungs.
  • Change of skin color (blue or pale).
  • Cough with sputum or mucus, tinged with blood.
  • Change of color of urine.
  • Swelling in legs because of high blood pressure.
  • Frequent urinary infection causing burning sensation when urinating.
  • Frothy or foamy urine, often with blood.
  • Severe back pain especially below the ribs.
  • Swelling in the hands and feet.


The causes of immune disorders have not been clearly understood by researchers till date. The primary reason for the disease is identified as genetic or family history. However, the factors that increase the risk of GPS include:

  • Exposure to chemicals and fumes such as hydrocarbon solvents.
  • Regular intake of marijuana cause damage to the lungs and weakens the immune system.
  • Any type of contact with metallic dust.
  • Usage or consumption of drugs such as morphine or cocaine in any form or quantity.
  • Smoking and alcohol further affect our immunity system making us more susceptible to GBM (glioblastoma multiforme).
  • Viral infections such as flu and cold.
  • Individuals between the age 20 – 30 and above 60 are at an easy risk of the disease.
  • Gender: Young men are at a greater risk of developing the disease.


If untreated, condition can result in:

  • Kidney damage or failure which can be chronic or end stage.
  • Lung failures.
  • Progressive glomerulonephritis (a syndrome of the kidney that is characterized by a rapid loss of renal function).
  • Pulmonary hemorrhage or lung bleeding which could be severe.


Following are some measure that can be followed to prevent GPS:

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Decrease alcohol intake.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
  • Exercise to stay fit.

How is it diagnosed?

Based on the severity of symptoms, the following tests may be recommended by our doctor at Medanta:


How is it treated?

Even though the damage caused can be reversed, any ignorance on treatment and diagnosis can be fatal. The GPS requires a prompt and aggressive treatment to fight harmful antibodies and to regulate and keep a check on fluid buildup inside the lungs..

  • Medication

    The treatment procedure includes medications such as oral immunosuppressive drugs (cyclophosphamide and corticosteroids). The function of these drugs is to limit the immunity system from producing antibodies. The Intravenous corticosteroids prescribed help control internal lung bleeding.The patient is then observed for a few days to know how the body reacts to the treatment. If the reaction is positive, the drugs may continue for the next 6 -12 months.
    The popular medical procedure of plasmapheresis helps remove harmful antibodies from blood. During the procedure, 300 ml of blood is extracted from the patient’s body and kept in a tube called centrifuge. This tube then separates RBCs from WBCs present in plasma. The goodpasture syndrome antibodies are held in plasma. The procedure is performed daily for several weeks to reverse the symptoms. Patients may need artificial oxygen supply till the disease runs its course. Patients may also need to undergo blood transfusion under severe conditions.

When do I contact the doctor?

Any individual who notices the characteristic symptoms of GPS should consult the doctor immediately.

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