Purpose: To determine whether medical or surgical treatment better promotes renal growth in children with severe vesicoureteric reflux (VUR) and to examine factors influencing renal growth.
Materials and methods: Three hundred two children younger than 11 years with urinary tract infection and grade III or IV VUR were randomly assigned to surgical (n = 149) or medical (n = 153) treatment and were followed up at serial intravenous urography for up to 5 years; 223, for up to 10 years (surgical, n = 110; medical, n = 113). Renal size was measured planimetrically on serial intravenous urograms and was related to the virtual height of L1 through L3 by expressing it as an SD score.
Results: There was no significant difference in mean renal growth between patients treated surgically or those treated medically after 5- or 10-year follow-up. Bilateral renal size of 80 surgical and 75 medical patients remained within 1 SD score. In patients entering the study at 2 years of age or younger and in those with grade IV VUR, bilateral VUR, or renal scars, there was a trend toward improved renal growth in those treated medically, but this finding was not statistically significant. When renal scarring or thin parenchyma was unilateral, the affected kidney grew less well, irrespective of treatment. Bilateral renal scarring was usually asymmetrical, with a corresponding effect on renal growth.
Conclusion: There was no significant difference in renal growth during 10 years between surgical and medical treatment in patients with severe reflux.