Management of antenatal hydronephrosis

Pediatr Nephrol. 2020 Dec;35(12):2231-2239. doi: 10.1007/s00467-019-04420-6. Epub 2019 Dec 6.


Antenatal hydronephrosis (AHN) is the most frequently detected abnormality by prenatal ultrasonography. Differential diagnosis of AHN includes a wide variety of congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract ranging from mild abnormalities such as transient or isolated AHN to more important ones as high-grade congenital vesicoureteral reflux or ureteropelvic junction obstruction. It is well known that the outcome depends on the underlying etiology. Various grading systems have been proposed for the classification of AHN on prenatal and postnatal ultrasonography. Mild isolated AHN represents up to 80% of cases, is considered to be benign, and majority of them resolve, stabilize, or improve during follow-up. Controversies exist regarding the diagnosis and management of some important and severe causes of AHN such as high-grade vesicoureteral reflux and ureteropelvic junction obstruction. Current approach is becoming increasingly conservative during diagnosis and follow-up of these patients with less imaging and close follow-up. However, there is still no consensus regarding the clinical significance, postnatal evaluation, and management of infants with AHN. The aim of this review is to discuss the controversies and provide an overview on the management of AHN.

Keywords: Antenatal hydronephrosis; Ultrasonography; Ureteropelvic junction obstruction; Urinary tract infection; Vesicoureteral reflux.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hydronephrosis / diagnosis*
  • Hydronephrosis / pathology
  • Hydronephrosis / therapy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Ureteral Obstruction / congenital
  • Ureteral Obstruction / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Tract / abnormalities