Heavy proteinuria in patients with essential hypertension raises the question of underlying primary renal disease. While malignant hypertension may be associated with proteinuria in the nephrotic range, it is generally held that protein excretion in benign nephrosclerosis is almost invariably less than 0.5-1.0 g/24 h. We report 18 patients with biopsy-proven hypertensive nephropathy and heavy proteinuria, of which only 6 had malignant hypertension. In the remaining 12 patients with benign nephrosclerosis, protein excretion reached up to 6.5 g/24 h, and nephrotic range proteinuria was present in 3 patients. All patients with heavy proteinuria suffered from long-standing moderate or severe, poorly controlled hypertension and were azotemic. We suggest that hypertensive nephrosclerosis be included in the differential diagnosis of massive proteinuria accompanying azotemia in poorly controlled hypertensives.
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