Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 686–694 | Cite as

Characterizing upper urinary tract dilation on ultrasound: a survey of North American pediatric radiologists’ practices

  • David W. SwensonEmail author
  • Kassa Darge
  • Sonja I. Ziniel
  • Jeanne S. Chow
Original Article



Radiologists commonly evaluate children first diagnosed with urinary tract dilation on prenatal ultrasound (US).


To establish how North American pediatric radiologists define and report findings of urinary tract dilation on US.

Materials and methods

A web-based survey was sent to North American members of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) from January to February 2014. Reporting practices and interpretation of three image-based cases using free text were queried. Responses to close-ended questions were analyzed with descriptive statistics, while free-text responses to the three cases were categorized and analyzed as (1) using either descriptive terminology or an established numerical grading system and (2) as providing a quantitative term for the degree of dilation.


Two hundred eighty-four pediatric radiologists answered the survey resulting in a response rate of 19.0%. There is a great variety in the terms used to describe urinary tract dilation with 66.2% using descriptive terminology, 35.6% using Society for Fetal Urology (SFU) grading system and 35.9% measuring anterior-posterior diameter (APD) of the renal pelvis. There is no consensus for a normal postnatal APD or the meaning of hydronephrosis. For the same images, descriptions vary widely in degree of severity ranging from normal to mild to severe. Similar variability exists among those using the SFU system. Ninety-seven percent say they believe a unified descriptive system would be helpful and 87.7% would use it if available.


Pediatric radiologists do not have a standardized method for describing urinary tract dilation but have a great desire for such a system and would follow it if available.


Kidney Urinary tract dilation Hydronephrosis Prenatal diagnosis Ultrasound Anteroposterior renal pelvic diameter Pediatric 



We thank Jennifer Boylan in the SPR office for assistance in distribution of our e-mail survey to the SPR membership and collecting data through

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Swenson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kassa Darge
    • 2
  • Sonja I. Ziniel
    • 3
  • Jeanne S. Chow
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityHasbro Children’s Hospital/Rhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Biostatistics CoreBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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