A single-center analysis of abdominal imaging in the evaluation of kidney transplant recipients

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Many transplantation programs utilize noninvasive abdominal and pelvic imaging in the pre-operative evaluation of recipient candidates. Practice patterns vary, and consensus guidelines addressing the risks and benefits of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the pre-transplant evaluation process do not currently exist. In this single-center study, we examined the frequency, clinical significance, and associated costs of CT and MRI findings during the pre-transplant evaluation of renal transplant recipients. A retrospective chart review of 3041 adult patients who underwent a CT/CTA or MRI/MRA of the abdomen and pelvis for pre-transplant evaluation between 2005 and 2010 was performed. Pre-transplant imaging with MRI offered a more sensitive evaluation in comparison with CT, with the notable exception of abnormalities in which calcium was detected. Patients imaged with CT had a significantly greater proportion of subsequent clinical actions arising from imaging findings. The total financial cost of MRI was greater than that of CT. No cases of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients who received MultiHance gadolinium contrast were reported. In conclusion, the risks, benefits, and costs of CT/CTA and MRI/MRA must be carefully considered to optimize the pre-operative evaluation of renal transplant recipients.

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