Patho Patho #36


What signs are characteristic of nephrotic syndrome?


  1. 1. Weight loss and hypotension
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because clients with nephrotic syndrome will experience weight gain and hypertension due to excess fluid retention.

  2. 2. Generalized edema and proteinuria
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because massive proteinuria and generalized edema are key manifestations of nephrotic syndrome. Because protein leaks out into the urine, proteinuria, colloidal osmotic pressure within the vessels is lost leading to generalized edema.

  3. 3. Widespread purpura
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because widespread purpura is not an expected finding associated with nephrotic syndrome.

  4. 4. Flank pain and fatigue
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because flank pain and fatigue are more closely associated with a urinary tract infection as opposed to nephrotic syndrome.


The focus of this question is asking the nurse to identify the most characteristic manifestations of nephrotic syndrome. Nephrotic syndrome is a disorder in which the kidneys are damaged by the inflammatory process. Inflammatory mediators released during nephrotic syndrome damage the capillaries within the nephrons leading to leakage of proteins and other large particles into the urine causing proteinuria. Generalized edema can also result because the loss of proteins within the vascular space leads to fluid buildup within the interstitium.


Learning Outcomes

Nephrotic syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys that leads to severe proteinuria and generalized edema. Because of inflammatory damage to the capillaries within the kidneys, proteins and other substances that would normally be reabsorbed into the blood, leak out into the urine. In addition, clients will experience hypertension and generalized edema due to fluid retention in the interstitium.

Test Taking Tip

Don’t confuse the manifestations of nephrotic syndrome with glomerulonephritis. Nephrotic syndrome= massive proteinuria. Glomerulonephritis= massive hematuria.

Video Rationale