DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics14040384 ISSN: 2075-4418

Stratifying Antenatal Hydronephrosis: Predicting High-Grade VUR Using Ultrasound and Scintigraphy

Niklas Pakkasjärvi, Sofia Belov, Timo Jahnukainen, Reetta Kivisaari, Seppo Taskinen
  • Clinical Biochemistry

(1) Background: Antenatal hydronephrosis (AHN), detected in approximately one percent of prenatal ultrasounds, is caused by vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) in 15–21% of cases, a condition with significant risks such as urinary tract infections and renal scarring. Our study addresses the diagnostic challenges of VUR in AHN. Utilizing renal ultrasonography and scintigraphy, we developed a novel scoring system that accurately predicts high-grade VUR, optimizing diagnostic precision while minimizing the need for more invasive methods like voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG); (2) Methods: This retrospective study re-analyzed renal ultrasonography, scintigraphy, and VCUG images from infants admitted between 2003 and 2013, excluding cases with complex urinary anomalies; (3) Results: Our analysis included 124 patients (75% male), of whom 11% had high-grade VUR. The multivariate analysis identified visible ureter, reduced renal length, and decreased differential renal function (DRF) as primary predictors. Consequently, we established a three-tier risk score, classifying patients into low, intermediate, and high-risk groups for high-grade VUR, with corresponding prevalences of 2.3%, 22.2%, and 75.0%. The scoring system demonstrated 86% sensitivity and 79% specificity; (4) Conclusions: Our scoring system, focusing on objective parameters of the visible ureter, renal length, and DRF, effectively identifies high-grade VUR in AHN patients. This method enhances diagnostics in ANH by reducing reliance on VCUG and facilitating more tailored and less invasive patient care.

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