Prediction of Clinical Outcomes in Prenatal Hydronephrosis: Importance of Gravity Assisted Drainage

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In infants with SFU (Society for Fetal Urology) grade 3-4 congenital hydronephrosis, 99mTc-mercaptoacetyltriglycine diuretic renography assesses differential function and drainage half-time. We routinely also include the percent of radiotracer drained after 30 minutes of diuresis as well as after 15 minutes with the patient in the upright position. We investigated whether any 1 or more of these parameters on initial diuretic renography predicts persistent or worsening drainage parameters.

Materials and Methods:

Infants 6 months or younger with grade 3-4 congenital hydronephrosis who presented between January 2009 and December 2014 were identified from billing data and included in analysis if they underwent at least 1 baseline diuretic renography. Those with structural anomalies were excluded from study. Baseline and followup differential function, diuresis half-time, clearance at 30 minutes and clearance with the patient upright were abstracted and comparisons were made between those with initially indeterminate diuresis half-time who underwent pyeloplasty vs those showing spontaneous improvement.


A total of 74 patients (82 renal units) with presumed ureteropelvic junction obstruction met inclusion/exclusion criteria. All 10 renal units with initial diuresis half-time less than 5 minutes resolved spontaneously and all 25 renal units with initial diuresis half-time greater than 75 minutes underwent pyeloplasty. Therefore, we defined the indeterminate group as the 47 renal units with initial half-time between 5 and 75 minutes. Of those 47 renal units with indeterminate initial diuresis half-time 23 (47%) underwent pyeloplasty and 25 (53%) resolved spontaneously. Indications for pyeloplasty included worsening in 17 cases, persistent obstruction in 4 and urinary tract infection in 1. Among renal units with indeterminate drainage clearance while upright and clearance at 30 minutes were the only variables that differed significantly between surgical cases and those that resolved spontaneously.


Radiotracer clearance with the patient upright and clearance at 30 minutes are more predictive of surgical management than diuresis half-time or differential function for renal units with indeterminate drainage. They should be included in the standard assessment of ureteropelvic junction obstruction.

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