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Urology. 2013 Oct;82(4):905-9. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2013.04.026. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Utility of screening ultrasound after first febrile UTI among patients with clinically significant vesicoureteral reflux.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Urology, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:



To assess the sensitivity and negative predictive value (NPV) of screening renal and bladder ultrasound (RBUS) after initial febrile urinary tract infection (UTI) among patients with clinically significant vesicoureteral reflux (VUR).


A retrospective review was performed of all children <2 years of age who presented with a febrile UTI between 2004 and 2011. The sensitivity and NPV of initial RBUS was calculated among patients who were found to have high-grade (IV-V) VUR. Additionally, initial RBUS among patients with evidence of photopenia on dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scan or who underwent surgical intervention were reviewed.


One hundred forty-four patients with febrile UTI were identified; available RBUS, voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), and DMSA results for each kidney were reviewed. One hundred fifty-eight kidneys had evidence of VUR on VCUG, and initial RBUS demonstrated abnormality in 25 (sensitivity 0.17). Forty-five kidneys had high-grade VUR and RBUS revealed abnormality in 16 (sensitivity 0.36). One hundred seventy-eight kidneys had no evidence of abnormality on initial RBUS, and 136 (76%) were found to have VUR (NPV 0.24), of which 31 had high-grade VUR (NPV 0.83). Seven kidneys had scarring on DMSA and initial RBUS was normal in 4 (57%). Twelve of 19 patients (63%) who eventually underwent surgical intervention had a normal initial RBUS.


RBUS has poor sensitivity and NPV for detecting high-grade VUR in patients <2 years who present with a febrile UTI. A significant number of patients who were diagnosed with high-grade VUR, renal scarring, or underwent surgical correction of VUR had a negative screening RBUS.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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