International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 9–14 | Cite as

A novel use of attenuation value (Hounsfield unit) in non-contrast CT: diagnosis of pyonephrosis in obstructed systems

  • Ismail BasmaciEmail author
  • Ertugrul Sefik
Urology - Original Paper



To evaluate the predictive value of attenuation value (HU) in renal pelvis urine for detecting renal pelvis urine culture (RPUC) positivity in obstructed urinary systems.


The study group consisted of patients who had nephrostomy insertion performed because of obstructed system and suspicion of pyonephrosis and percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) patients who had obstructed calculi. Group 1 consisted of RPUC positive 28 patients during nephrostomy insertion or needle access in PCNL and group 2 consisted of 23 patients with negative RPUC. RPUC results and non-contrast computed tomography measurements [Hounsfield unit (HU)] were compared between group 1 and group 2. A cut-off value was determined for HU. All patients were grouped according to whether they were above or below this value.


The median HU calculated from the renal pelvis was − 8.5 (range − 29/− 1) and 10 (range− 4/+ 17) (p < 0.001) in group 1 and group 2, respectively. The cut-off value of HU that predicted positive RPUC was 0. Sensitivity and specificity of HU when considering this cut-off value were 100% and 96%, respectively (p < 0.001). Whereas RPUC positivity was found in 96.6% (28/29) of patients with HU < 0, there were no patients with HU > 0 where RPUC positivity was detected (p < 0.001).


In this cohort, we found that HU of the urine in the renal pelvis can be used to predict RPUC positivity.


Pyonephrosis Urinary tract obstruction Urine culture Computed tomography Attenuation value (Hounsfield unit) 




Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author Basmaci I declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Sefik E declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyHSU Izmir Bozyaka Training and Research HospitalIzmirTurkey

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