Prospective pediatric study comparing glomerular filtration rate estimates based on motion-robust dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and serum creatinine (eGFR) to 99mTc DTPA

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Current methods to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR) have shortcomings. Estimates based on serum creatinine are known to be inaccurate in the chronically ill and during acute changes in renal function. Gold standard methods such as inulin and 99mTc diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) require blood or urine sampling and thus can be difficult to perform in children. Motion-robust radial volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI represents a novel tool for estimating GFR that has not been validated in children.


The purpose of our study was to determine the feasibility and accuracy of GFR measured by motion-robust radial VIBE dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI compared to estimates by serum creatinine (eGFR) and 99mTc DTPA in children.

Materials and methods

We enrolled children, 0–18 years of age, who were undergoing both a contrast-enhanced MRI and nuclear medicine 99mTc DTPA glomerular filtration rate (NM-GFR) within 2 weeks of each other. Enrolled children consented to an additional 6-min dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI scan using the motion-robust high spatiotemporal resolution prototype dynamic radial VIBE sequence (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany) at 3 tesla (T). The images were reconstructed offline with high temporal resolution (~3 s/volume) using compressed sensing image reconstruction including regularization in temporal dimension to improve image quality and reduce streaking artifacts. Images were then automatically post-processed using in-house-developed software. Post-processing steps included automatic segmentation of kidney parenchyma and aorta using convolutional neural network techniques and tracer kinetic model fitting using the Sourbron two-compartment model to calculate the MR-based GFR (MR-GFR). The NM-GFR was compared to MR-GFR and estimated GFR based on serum creatinine (eGFR) using Pearson correlation coefficient and Bland–Altman analysis.


Twenty-one children (7 female, 14 male) were enrolled between February 2017 and May 2018. Data from six of these children were not further analyzed because of deviations from the MRI protocol. Fifteen patients were analyzed (5 female, 10 male; average age 5.9 years); the method was technically feasible in all children. The results showed that the MR-GFR correlated with NM-GFR with a Pearson correlation coefficient (r-value) of 0.98. Bland–Altman analysis (i.e. difference of MR-GFR and NM-GFR versus mean of NM-GFR and MR-GFR) showed a mean difference of −0.32 and reproducibility coefficient of 18 with 95% confidence interval, and the coefficient of variation of 6.7% with values between −19 (−1.96 standard deviation) and 18 (+1.96 standard deviation). In contrast, serum creatinine compared with NM-GFR yielded an r-value of 0.73. Bland–Altman analysis (i.e. difference of eGFR and NM-GFR versus mean of NM-GFR and eGFR) showed a mean difference of 2.9 and reproducibility coefficient of 70 with 95% confidence interval, and the coefficient of variation of 25% with values between −67 (−1.96 standard deviation) and 73 (+1.96 standard deviation).


MR-GFR is a technically feasible and reliable method of measuring GFR when compared to the reference standard, NM-GFR by serum 99mTc DTPA, and MR-GFR is more reliable than estimates based on serum creatinine.

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Change history

  • 13 March 2020

    The originally published version of this article contained a typographical error. In the text under the subheading “Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI method, post-processing, and MR-GFR calculation” and in Table 1 the intravenous injection rate of gadobutrol was incorrectly listed as 0.2 mL/s.


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This investigation was supported in part by a 2018 Boston Children’s Hospital Translational Research Program Pilot Grant, a 2019 Society for Pediatric Radiology Multi-Institutional Pilot Research Award, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Career Development Award, a 2018 American Gastroenterological Association-Boston Scientific Technology and Innovation Award, and following grants from the National Institutes of Health: NIBIB R01 EB019483-04; NIDDK R01DK1004-04. The authors would like to thank Rhonda Johnson and Fredrick Fahey for their contributions.

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Correspondence to Sila Kurugol.

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Alto Stemmer is an employee of Siemens Healthcare.

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Kurugol, S., Afacan, O., Lee, R.S. et al. Prospective pediatric study comparing glomerular filtration rate estimates based on motion-robust dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and serum creatinine (eGFR) to 99mTc DTPA. Pediatr Radiol 50, 698–705 (2020).

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  • 99mTc diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid
  • Children
  • Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Kidneys
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Renal function
  • Serum creatinine