Issue: 2019 > October > case report

Secondary hyperoxaluria due to pancreatic insufficiency

D.G.L. de Martines, S. Gianotten, J. F.M. Wetzels, W.A.G. van der Meijden
AbstractFull textPDF


Background: In this article, we present two cases of patients with acute renal insufficiency with a history of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. In one case, this was caused by pancreaticoduodenectomy; in the other, by alcohol abuse. Neither patient had considerable proteinuria or haematuria. Their renal biopsies showed tubulopathy with widespread oxalate crystals, characterised by their birefringence in light microscopy. Restricting oxalate intake and prescribing oxalate binding agents reduced serum oxalate levels. Renal function partially recovered in both patients.
Oxalate nephropathy is associated with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, gastric and pancreatic surgery, and inflammatory bowel disease. Normally, dietary calcium binds oxalate to form calcium oxalate, which is excreted in the stool. In patients with pancreatic insufficiency, fatty acids bind calcium instead, allowing oxalate to be absorbed in the colon. The resulting hyperoxaluria can cause oxalate crystal formation, tubulopathy, and renal insufficiency. Treatment relies on decreasing the amount of absorbable oxalate in the intestinal lumen, as well as lowering urinary oxalate concentrations.
Conclusion: Secondary hyperoxaluria is a common cause of renal insufficiency and should be considered in patients with a medical history of pancreatic insufficiency and progressive kidney injury.