Children’s (Paediatric) Renal Ultrasound

Author: Dr Timothy Cain*

What are the prerequisites for having a paediatric renal ultrasound done?

Renal ultrasound examination is the initial imaging investigation of choice for urinary tract symptoms. Children with an uncomplicated urinary tract infection will usually not need further investigation if the ultrasound study is normal.

Radiologists require a clearly written request with sufficient clinical information to ensure that the most appropriate examination is performed. Not only does this enable the correct study to be performed, it also enables provision of a meaningful report.

What are the absolute contraindications for a paediatric renal ultrasound?

There are no absolute contraindications for a paediatric renal ultrasound.

What are the relative contraindications for a paediatric renal ultrasound?

If there are dressings or skin conditions that prevent adequate transducer contact or gel being applied to the abdomen, the study may not be successful.

What are the adverse effects of a paediatric renal ultrasound?

There are no adverse effects of a paediatric renal ultrasound.

Are there alternative imaging tests, interventions or surgical procedures to a paediatric renal ultrasound?

Renal ultrasound is the imaging modality of choice for investigation of renal tract symptoms. A micturating cysto-urethrogram is only indicated if there is significant asymmetry of renal size, significant scarring or significant renal tract (collecting system or ureter) dilatation. Limited information is provided about renal function so nuclear medicine renal scans or GFR estimations may be indicated depending on the ultrasound findings. Contrast ultrasonography is not widely used for ultrasound MCU in Australia. Computed tomography will only be indicated if there is an abdominal mass requiring further definition. Magnetic resonance urography may become a more useful investigation if the study can be performed without the need for sedation or anaesthetic in young children.

*The author has no conflict of interest with this topic.

Page last modified on 26/7/2017.

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