Prenatal renal parenchymal area as a predictor of early end-stage renal disease in children with vesicoamniotic shunting for lower urinary tract obstruction

J Pediatr Urol. 2018 Aug;14(4):320.e1-320.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Jul 24.


Background: Vesicoamniotic shunting (VAS) and other bladder drainage techniques for fetal lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO) have been proven to ameliorate pulmonary hypoplasia and increase survival in patients with an initial poor prognosis. Currently there are limited prognostic tools available during gestation to evaluate and predict postnatal renal function.

Objective: The aim was to describe the prenatal growth of the renal parenchymal area (RPA) in patients with LUTO and determine its application as a predictor of renal function at one year of life.

Study design: The study population comprised a retrospective cohort of all infants who survived the fetal VAS to birth. Renal growth and size were measured using imageJ software to calculate the RPA in sequential prenatal ultrasounds. The parenchymal area was measured from the image of each kidney with the greatest longitudinal length. These measurements were further correlated and analyzed as a predictor of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) within the first year of life.

Results: Etiologies of LUTO in the 15 male fetuses included eight posterior urethral valves, four Eagle-Barrett/prune belly syndrome, two urethral atresia, and one megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome. All patients had patent shunts, in place, at birth. Furthermore, ultrasonographic parameters such as oligohydramnios, keyhole sign, and bladder wall thickness showed no statistical difference between groups. Renal parenchymal growth correlated with postnatal renal function in both the ESRD (r = 0.409, p = 0.018) and the non-ESRD (r = 0.657, p < 0.001) groups. Most notably, RPA during the 3rd trimester predicted ESRD with the best cut-off point determined to be 8 cm2 (sensitivity, 0.714; specificity, 0.882; and positive likelihood ratio, 6.071) (Table).

Discussion: Despite definitive VAS for LUTO, postnatal morbidity and mortality remain high, emphasizing the role of renal dysplasia in postnatal renal failure, in spite of urinary diversion. Renal growth statistically differs between groups in the 3rd trimester of gestation; RPA development appears stagnant in patients that developed ESRD within the first year of life. In contrast, patients that did not develop ESRD continued to have renal parenchymal growth in a linear fashion. This suggests that prenatal RPA may be predictive of postnatal ESRD.

Conclusions: RPA measurement during the prenatal period could play an important role as a non-invasive tool to predict postnatal renal function and to anticipate postnatal clinical interventions.

Keywords: End-stage renal disease; Lower urinary tract obstruction; Renal parenchymal area; Vesicoamniotic shunting.

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology*
  • Male
  • Parenchymal Tissue / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parenchymal Tissue / embryology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*
  • Urethral Obstruction / complications*
  • Urethral Obstruction / surgery*
  • Urinary Bladder / surgery*
  • Urinary Diversion / methods