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Feasibility of MR urography in neonates and infants with anomalies of the upper urinary tract

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and diagnostic potential of dynamic MR urography (MRU) in neonates and infants with sonographically detected abnormalities of the upper urinary tract. Thirty infants (age range 5 days to 3 years, mean age 7.9 months; male:female: 22:8) underwent MRU using T2 and contrast-enhanced dynamic T1-weighted sequences. The results were compared with the findings of ultrasound (n=30), intravenous urography (IVU, n=19) and/or scintigraphy (n=25) based on the criteria suggestive of obstructive uropathy. Oral sedation was sufficient to perform MRU with diagnostic quality in 20 of 21 patients younger than 1 year; 9 older patients needed intravenous sedation. Diagnosis of the 66 renal units (58 kidneys, 29 successful examinations) included normal systems (contralateral units), duplex systems, vesico-ureteral reflux, obstructive megaureter, ureteropelvic junction obstruction and accompanying renal parenchymal disease, with complex pathology in 10 patients. Magnetic resonance urography demonstrated anatomy better than IVU, particularly the renal parenchyma, (ectopic) ureters, and poorly functioning dilated systems. Magnetic resonance urography was superior to US in showing ureteral pathology. Tiny cysts in dysplastic kidneys were better seen by US. Gadolinium-enhanced dynamic MRU allowed accurate assessment of obstruction applying IVU criteria. Here MRU matched IVU results, and most of the scintigraphic findings. Magnetic resonance urography can be performed in young infants with diagnostic quality using oral sedation. Magnetic resonance urography correctly depicts anatomy and allows assessment of the urinary tract better than US and IVU, with additional functional information. Magnetic resonance urography thus has the potential to replace IVU for many indications.

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Riccabona, M., Simbrunner, J., Ring, E. et al. Feasibility of MR urography in neonates and infants with anomalies of the upper urinary tract. Eur Radiol 12, 1442–1450 (2002).

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