What is Goodpasture Syndrome?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2018
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Sometimes referred to as Goodpasture’s Syndrome or Goodpasture’s Disease, Goodpasture Syndrome is a condition that involves both kidney and lung disease. The disease is named after Ernest William Goodpasture, a pathologist who identified the condition during the outbreak of influenza in the United States in 1918. With Goodpasture Syndrome Disease, the patient usually suffers from bleeding in the lungs coupled with some degree of inflammation. At the same time, the glomerulus area of the kidney becomes inflamed, causing the kidneys to function improperly.

In the earliest stages, Goodpasture Syndrome will manifest symptoms that may be similar to those of developing a bout with the flu. There is often a general sense of feeling run down and not well rested, some nausea, light coughing, a change in skin pallor, and an increased amount of difficulty in breathing. As the condition progresses, these symptoms are likely to become more pronounced, and be joined by difficulties involving the kidney. There is a good chance that excess protein will be discharged in the urine, along with an increasing amount of blood.


There are a number of possible Goodpasture Syndrome causes. Exposure to some chemical compounds, especially if the exposure is frequent and for long periods of time, may set the stage for developing this combination of kidney and lung malfunction. There is also some evidence that viral infections may contribute significantly to the development of this health condition. While there are theories that some people are more predisposed to the development of this syndrome than others, there is no general agreement on this point in the wider medical community.

In terms of Goodpasture Syndrome treatment, drug therapy can often help bring a degree or relief. The use of corticosteriods and various types of immunosuppressants are two examples of courses of treatment that can help alleviate some of the inflammation and ease Goodpasture Syndrome symptoms in general. However, it is important to note that these types of medications can weaken the immune system and leave the patient more susceptible to other health problems.

Goodpasture’s Disease is a relatively rare condition, which can sometimes make it more difficult to diagnose. The condition can affect anyone of any age or gender, although people in their twenties or their fifties or early sixties account for a larger portion of diagnosed cases. In addition, males are at a significantly higher rate of risk than females.

Prior to the 1970’s, treating Goodpasture Syndrome was more a matter of making the patient as comfortable as possible while awaiting death. Today, that is no longer the case. Advances in medicine have made it possible to detect the syndrome at earlier stages, increasing the chances for effective controlling the condition. In some cases, it is possible to reverse damage done to the lungs. However, the damage done to the kidneys is usually permanent, making it necessary for the patient to undergo a transplant or utilize dialysis later in life. While deaths still occur from Greenpasture Syndrome, the prognosis is significantly brighter today than at any time in the past.



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