OBJECTIVE: To determine if glucocorticoids can prevent renal scar formation after acute pyelonephritis in pediatric patients. METHODS: Patients younger than 16 years diagnosed with their first episode of acute pyelonephritis with a high risk of renal scar formation (ie, inflammatory volume ≥ 4.6 mL on technetium-99m-labeled dimercaptosuccinic acid scan [DMSA] or abnormal renal ultrasonography results) were randomly assigned to receive either antibiotics plus methylprednisolone sodium phosphate (1.6 mg/kg per day for 3 days [MPD group]) or antibiotics plus placebo (placebo group) every 6 hours for 3 days. Patients were reassessed by using DMSA 6 months after treatment. The primary outcome was the development of renal scars. RESULTS: A total of 84 patients were enrolled: 19 in the MPD group and 65 in the placebo group. Patient characteristics were similar between the 2 groups, including the acute inflammatory parameters and the initial DMSA result. Renal scarring was found in 33.3% of children treated with MPD and in 60.0% of those who received placebo (P < .05). The median cortical defect volumes on follow-up DMSA were 0.0 mL (range: 0 - 4.5 mL) and 1.5 mL (range: 0 -14.8 mL) for the MPD and placebo groups, respectively (P < .01). Patients in the MPD group experienced faster defervescence after treatment than the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive oral MPD therapy reduced the occurrence and/or severity of renal scarring after acute pyelonephritis in these hospitalized children who had a high risk of renal scar formation.
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