Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 223–226 | Cite as

Vesicoureteral reflux, a benign condition

  • Mika Venhola
  • Matti Uhari
Editorial Commentary


The combination of urinary tract infection (UTI) and vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is commonly thought to predispose the child to pyelonephritis, renal scarring and, later in life, to hypertension or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This paradigm has led to the active search, follow-up and treatment of VUR, and also prevention of recurrent UTI in children. The causality of VUR and ESRD is controversial, however. According to recent meta-analyses it is uncertain whether we can prevent renal scarring or ESRD by treating VUR. Studies on VUR are abundant, but the findings and conclusions are confounding. Because of the lack of evidence of the role of VUR, reasonable doubt has recently been presented on the rationale of imaging all children with UTI and treating the children with VUR. The overall importance of VUR is confounded because of the natural tendency of VUR to resolve spontaneously, its dynamic nature, and its different grades in children. The historical studies showing that VUR is much more common, even among healthy children, than usually claimed, have been forgotten. Since it seems that we are referring too many healthy children to unpleasant and possibly unnecessary imaging tests for VUR, we are uncertain when and what kind of VUR—if any—we should treat, and whether our present rationale of addressing VUR truly makes any difference to renal scarring or ESRD in children, we should critically revisit the subject of VUR.


Vesicoureteral reflux Urinary tract infection Kidney Child 


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsOulu University HospitalOuluFinland

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