Sensitivity of ultrasonography in detecting renal parenchymal defects: 6 years' follow-up

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While 99mTc-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scanning is still considered the most accurate method for the assessment of renal parenchymal defects (RPDs), our study 6 years previously suggested that ultrasonography (US) could be a safe and efficient substitute for this purpose, provided that it is reliably performed and that renal function parameters are followed. By comparison of the original and follow-up study data from 67 children, the accuracy of our recommendations was re-evaluated. US was performed and renal function parameters investigated and correlated to the DMSA scans from the original study. US identified all six patients with clinically significant RPD and 52/61 with clinically insignificant RPDs, seen on the DMSA scans. Twenty two out of 22 severe RPDs, 21/23 moderate RPDs and 20/40 mild RPDs seen on the DMSA scans were detected by US. In ten cases normal US findings from the original study were rendered abnormal, correlating well with the DMSA scans with respect to RPD localization and kidney size. These results further support our previous suggestion that US is a safe and harmless alternative to DMSA scanning in the detection and follow-up of RPDs. While it cannot be excluded that small RPDs missed on the initial US might ‘develop' clinical significance in later life, children with normal findings on initial US should have another sonogram done, at the shortest a year later, together with an investigation of renal function parameters.

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