Update on the Prenatal Diagnosis and Outcomes of Fetal Bilateral Renal Agenesis

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2019 May;74(5):298-302. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000670.


Importance: Bilateral renal agenesis is a rare congenital anomaly associated with poor prognosis.

Objective: The aims of this article are to review and summarize evidence on prenatal diagnosis and outcomes of bilateral renal agenesis.

Evidence acquisition: A search was undertaken using PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov databases from January 1, 1998, to September 1, 2018. Search terms include "prenatal diagnosis" OR "outcomes" AND "bilateral renal agenesis." Search was limited to English language.

Results: Fetal ultrasonography is the primary imaging modality for prenatal diagnosis of fetal urogenital tract abnormalities. However, ultrasonography is limited by several factors; it is operator dependent and associated with small field of view, has limited soft-tissue acoustic contrast, and is also influenced by patient habitus and fetal position. Color Doppler ultrasonography can be used as an adjunct to exclude bilateral renal agenesis by visualizing renal arteries. In the literature, prenatal magnetic resonance imaging has been reported to be equal to or superior to prenatal ultrasonography. Bilateral renal agenesis with oligohydramnios/anhydramnios is associated with a poor prognosis; perinatal death occurs secondary to pulmonary hypoplasia in the majority of cases.

Conclusions: Ultrasonography in combination with color Doppler ultrasonography permits the fetal urinary tract to be assessed in the first and early second trimester of gestation. The magnetic resonance imaging can be used as a complementary adjunctive modality in equivocal or inconclusive ultrasonographic findings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / abnormalities*
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases / congenital*
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases / mortality
  • Oligohydramnios / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods*

Supplementary concepts

  • Hereditary renal agenesis