Posterior urethral valves, pressure pop-offs, and kidney function: systematic review and meta-analysis

World J Urol. 2023 Jul;41(7):1803-1811. doi: 10.1007/s00345-023-04451-7. Epub 2023 Jun 17.


Purpose: To determine the role of pressure pop-off mechanisms, including vesicoureteral reflux and renal dysplasia (VURD) syndrome, in determining long-term kidney outcomes in boys with posterior urethral valves (PUV).

Methods: A systematic search was performed in December 2022. Descriptive and comparative studies with a defined pressure pop-off group were included. Assessed outcomes included end-stage renal disease (ESRD), kidney insufficiency (defined as chronic kidney disease [CKD] stage 3 + or SCr > 1.5 mg/dL), and kidney function. Pooled proportions and relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were extrapolated from available data for quantitative synthesis. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed according to the study design and techniques. The risk of bias was assessed with the QUIPS tool and GRADE quality of evidence. The systematic review was prospectively registered on PROSPERO (CRD42022372352).

Results: A total of 15 studies describing 185 patients with a median follow-up of 6.8 years were included. By the last follow-up, overall effect estimates demonstrate the prevalence of CKD and ESRD to be 15.2% and 4.1%, respectively. There was no significant difference in the risk of ESRD in patients with pop-off compared to no pop-off patients [RR 0.34, 95%CI 0.12, 1.10; p = 0.07]. There was a significantly reduced risk for kidney insufficiency in boys with pop-off [RR 0.57, 95%CI 0.34, 0.97; p = 0.04], but this protective effect was not re-demonstrated after excluding studies with inadequate reporting of CKD outcomes [RR 0.63, 95%CI 0.36, 1.10; p = 0.10]. Included study quality was low, with 6 studies having moderate risk and 9 having a high risk of bias.

Conclusions: Pop-off mechanisms may be associated with reducing the risk of kidney insufficiency, but current certainty in the evidence is low. Further research is warranted to investigate sources of heterogeneity and long-term sequelae in pressure pop-offs.

Keywords: Posterior urethral valve; Pressure pop-off; Urinoma; VURD syndrome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / complications
  • Urethral Obstruction* / complications