A Spectrum of Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract (CAKUT)-Diagnostic Utility of Perinatal Autopsy

Indian J Pediatr. 2023 Feb;90(2):139-145. doi: 10.1007/s12098-022-04305-x. Epub 2022 Aug 18.


Objective: To describe the spectrum of congenital renal anomalies and emphasize the critical role of comprehensive autopsy examination in identifying CAKUT, especially of lower urinary tract malformations correlating with prenatal imaging methods.

Methods: Retrospective analyses of CAKUT diagnosed at fetal autopsy were analyzed over a 7-y period and correlated with prenatal imaging findings.

Result: Among the 255 fetal autopsies, 45 cases were detected with CAKUT. Isolated (27%), syndromic CAKUT (51%), and CAKUT associated with other system anomalies (22%) were found. Hydronephrosis, followed by cystic renal diseases and agenesis were the common renal malformations. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) was the commonest system associated with CAKUT. Among the syndromic CAKUT, the urorectal septum malformation (URSM) was the most frequent one, followed by VACTER-L, acrorenal syndrome, and OEIS complex. When correlating prenatal USG and autopsy findings, a significant change in final diagnosis was observed in 60% of cases.

Conclusion: Extrarenal malformations and syndromic associations of CAKUT predominated over isolated ones. Detection of lower urinary tract anomalies in CAKUT is difficult through antenatal imaging methods if associated with oligohydramnios. In these circumstances, the perinatal autopsy has a significant role in arriving at the final diagnosis which guides the clinician in predicting the recurrence risk and the need for genetic workup.

Keywords: Congenital anomalies of the kidney and uinary tract; Evisceration technique; Fetal autopsy; Hydronephrosis; Renal cystic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Tract*

Supplementary concepts

  • Cakut