Bartter syndrome history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


History and Symptoms

In 90% of cases, neonatal Bartter syndrome is seen between 24 and 30 weeks of gestation with excess amnionic fluid (polyhydramnios). After birth, the infant is seen to urinate and drink excessively (polyuria, and polydipsia, respectively). Life-threatening dehydration may result if the infant does not receive adequate fluids. About 85% of infants dispose of excess amounts of calcium in the urine (hypercalciuria) and kidneys (nephrocalcinosis), which may lead to kidney stones. In rare occasions, the infant may progress to renal failure.

Patients with classic Bartter syndrome may have symptoms in the first two years of life, but they are usually diagnosed at school age or later. Like infants with the neonatal subtype, patients with classic Bartter syndrome also have polyuria, polydipsia, and a tendency to dehydration, but normal or just slightly increased urinary calcium excretion without the tendency to develop kidney stones. These patients also have vomiting and growth retardation. Kidney function is also normal if the disease is treated,[1] but occasionally patients proceed to end-stage renal failure. Bartter's syndrome consists of hypokalaemia,alkalosis,normal blood pressues ,and elevated plasma renin and aldosterone. Numerous causes of this syndrome probably exist. Diagnostic pointers include high urinary potassium and chloride despite low serum values , increased plasma renin, hyperplasia of the juxtagloerular apparatus on renal biopsy, and careful exclusion of diuretic abuse . Excess production of renal prostaglandins is often found. Magnesium wasting may also occur

People suffering from Bartter syndrome present symptoms which are identical to those of patients who are on loop diuretics like furosemide.

The clinical findings characteristic of Bartter syndrome are hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, and normal to low blood pressure. These findings may also be caused by:

  • Chronic vomiting: These patients will also have low urine chloride levels
  • Abuse of diuretic medications (water pills): The physician must screen urine for multiple diuretics before diagnosis is made.
  • Magnesium deficiency: These patients will also have low serum and urine magnesium

Patients with Bartter syndrome may also have elevated renin and aldosterone levels.


  1. Rodriguez-Soriano J (1998). "Bartter and related syndromes: the puzzle is almost solved". Pediatr Nephrol. 12 (4): 315–27. PMID 9655365.