Congenital and acquired renal diseases that can produce renal insufficiency during the neonatal period may be classified according to their ultrasonographic (US) characteristics: increased parenchymal echogenicity (renal parenchymal diseases, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor fetopathy, cortical necrosis), cystic disease (glomerulocystic kidney disease, autosomal recessive polycystic renal disease, multicystic dysplastic kidney, cystic renal dysplasia), obstructive uropathies (ureteropelvic junction obstruction, posterior urethral valves), infections (candidal infections and bezoars), and renal agenesis. High-resolution sector and linear-array transducers allow characterization of the underlying pathologic conditions in many cases. Findings of renal parenchymal disease will vary at Doppler US and, during the acute phase, diastolic flow can be decreased, absent, or reversed. In patients with glomerulocystic kidney disease, US shows bilaterally enlarged kidneys with diffusely increased echogenicity and retention of a reniform contour, loss of corticomedullary differentiation, and cortical cysts. Obstruction of the ureteropelvic junction, the most common cause of hydronephrosis in neonates, can be seen at US as a dilated renal pelvis with dilated and communicating calices, lack of dilatation in the distal portion of the ureter, changes of renal dysplasia with increased echogenicity of the renal parenchyma, and parenchymal cysts, depending on the severity and duration of the obstruction. High-resolution US provides improved characterization of the renal parenchyma and more precise description of renal architecture.
Copyright RSNA, 2002