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Ther Umsch. 2002 Mar;59(3):138-43.

[Vesico-ureteral reflux, reflux nephropathy and terminal renal failure].

[Article in German]

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Medizinische Universit├Ąts-Kinderklinik, Bern, Schweiz.


Vesicoureteric reflux is subcategorized into primary and secondary. Secondary vesicoureteric reflux results from increased bladder pressure duo to anatomic outlet obstruction or neuropathic disturbances. Primary vesicoureteric reflux was felt to result from a congenitally short mucosal tunnel length but this concept has been thrown into question. Recent studies suggest an association between lower urinary tract dysfunction and primary vesicoureteric reflux. Primary vesicoureteric reflux is often associated with kidney damage. It has been traditionally assumed that in children with primary vesicoureteric reflux kidney damage results from reflux of infected urine into the renal tissue. While there is unarguable proof that kidney damage can be acquired by the reflux of infected urine, the extent of reflux nephropathy explained by this mechanism has been overemphasized. Recent observations indicate that there are two categories of primary reflux disorder: a mild reflux associated with an acquired renal scarring secondary to infections which affects most females and a proportion of males; and a prenatal high-grade vesicoureteric reflux with a congenital nephropathy characterized by generalized hypodysplastic features which almost exclusively affects boys. Treatment options of primary vesicoureteric reflux range from surgical ureteric reimplantation to antimicrobial prophylaxis. Findings from comparative trials of prophylactic antibiotics and surgical management of children with high-grade vesicoureteric reflux do not show difference in renal growth and acquisition of new scars or renal function for 10 years. The factors accounting for the outcome in the mentioned studies are that most damage occurs at a very early stage and that severely damaged kidneys will either remain stable or progress to end-stage kidney disease, despite all efforts to cure the reflux.

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