Quantitative Ultrasonic Detection of Parenchymal Structural Change in Diffuse Renal Disease

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The authors determined whether quantitative ultrasound could be useful in the evaluation of diffuse renal disease.


Digitized radiofrequency ultrasound data were acquired from the kidneys of patients with biopsy-proven diffuse renal disease and transplant rejection (37 patients plus 18 normal volunteers). The results of the quantitative analysis were compared with histology results to determine if microscopic renal structure could be correlated with quantitative features such as scatterer size and scatterer spacing. The results also were analyzed using receiver operating characteristic analysis to determine if diffuse disease could be detected reliably using quantitative methods.


The three most useful features in the native kidneys were mean scatterer spacing (MSS), σ's, and average scatterer size (D). Using these features, it was possible to detect diffuse renal disease causing a decrease in renal function with an area under the ROC curve (Az) of 0.93. The feature D corresponded closely to histologically measured average glo-merular diameters. For normals, D = 216 μm and glomerular diameter = 211 μm. No histologic correlate was found for scatterer spacing. In transplants, MSS and integrated back-scatter were most useful for detecting rejection (Az = 0.87), and D in rejection was similar to the values for normal kidney and normally functioning transplants.


The D valve corresponds to glomerular diameter, and glomerular enlargement can be detected readily using quantitative ultrasound. Combinations of two to four quantitative features can detect diffuse renal disease and transplant rejection reliably.

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