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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2001 Aug;177(2):349-55.

Noninvasive imaging of living related kidney donors: evaluation with CT angiography and gadolinium-enhanced MR angiography.

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Department of Radiology, Guy's Hospital, Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital Trust, St. Thomas St., London SE1 9RT, United Kingdom.



This study was performed to determine whether noninvasive imaging with CT angiography and MR angiography in the preoperative investigation of living, related kidney donors provides sufficient information for the surgeon.


Eighty consecutive potential living kidney donors were investigated. Fifty patients underwent CT angiography and 30 underwent MR angiography before donor nephrectomy. CT was performed using 3-mm collimation with a pitch of 1.6 after the injection of 150 mL of nonionic contrast medium. The axial data, multiplanar reconstructions, and maximum intensity projections were reviewed. MR angiography was performed on a 1-T magnet using a contrast-enhanced three-dimensional gradient echo technique. Maximum intensity projections and axial reformations were reviewed. Imaging findings were compared with the surgical results in 54 patients.


CT angiography and MR angiography were 100% sensitive in identifying the main renal arteries and renal veins. CT angiography visualized 37 of the 40 arteries identified at surgery, for a detection rate of 93%. MR angiography visualized 18 of the 20 arteries identified at surgery, a detection rate of 90%.


CT angiography and MR angiography are suitable for the noninvasive investigation of living kidney donors and provide all the information required by the surgeon. Both methods may miss small accessory renal arteries. MR angiography does not use potentially toxic contrast material or radiation and is the preferred investigation, with CT angiography reserved for patients unable to tolerate MR imaging.

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