Posterior urethral valves: comparison of clinical outcomes between postnatal and antenatal cohorts

J Pediatr Urol. 2019 Apr;15(2):167.e1-167.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Nov 24.


Background: Posterior urethral valves (PUVs) constitute the most common infravesical urinary obstruction in boys and are often accompanied by severe consequences to the lower and upper urinary tract. Currently, about two-thirds of diagnosis of PUVs has been suspected by prenatal ultrasonography findings. The aim of this study was to compare long-term clinical outcomes in two groups of patients with PUVs, with antenatal vs. postnatal diagnosis.

Study design: This was a retrospective cohort study of 173 patients with PUVs systematically followed up in a tertiary center. Median follow-up time was 66.5 months (interquartile range [IQ], 11.4-147.9 months) for those patients who survived neonatal period. Seventy-nine (45.6%) patients were followed up for more than 5 years and 55 (32%) for more than 10 years. For analysis, the cohort was stratified into two groups according to the clinical presentation (prenatal vs. postnatal). The events of interest were urinary tract infection (UTI), surgical interventions, proteinuria, hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and death. Survival analyses were performed to evaluate time until occurrence of the events.

Results: Sixty-two patients (35.8%) were diagnosed by fetal sonography. Patients of postnatal group presented a higher incidence rate of UTI episodes (6.5, 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.9-8.3) than antenatal group (1.2, 95% CI, 0.4-2.7) (P < 0.001). Thirty-six patients (21%) presented hypertension, and 77 (44.5%) had persistent mild proteinuria. There was no significant difference in the estimated incidence of hypertension (P = 0.28) and proteinuria (P = 0.78) between antenatal and postnatal groups. The cumulative incidence of CKD stage ≥3 was estimated to be about 37% at 10 years of age, and 56% at 18 years of age. By survival analysis, there was no significant difference in the estimated incidence of CKD stage ≥3 (log-rank = 0.32, P = 0.57) and CKD stage 5 (log-rank = 1.08, P = 0.28, Figure) between antenatal and postnatal groups. Of 173 patients included in the analysis, 13 (7.5%) died during follow-up with a median age of 2.6 months (IQ, 15 days-62 months). Survival analyses have not shown any significant difference in the estimated incidence of death between antenatal and postnatal groups (log-rank = 1.38, P = 0.24).

Conclusion: The study findings did not corroborate the initial hypothesis that the rates of renal function declining in patients with PUVs would be attenuated by an early diagnosis and intervention after antenatal diagnosis.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Fetal hydronephrosis; Hypertension; Posterior urethral valves; Urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*
  • Urethra / abnormalities*
  • Urethra / diagnostic imaging*
  • Urethra / surgery
  • Urethral Obstruction / complications
  • Urethral Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Urethral Obstruction / surgery
  • Urologic Diseases / complications
  • Urologic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Urologic Diseases / surgery