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J Pediatr. 1990 Aug;117(2 Pt 1):171-8.

Methodologic limitations in the literature on vesicoureteral reflux: a critical review.

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Department of Ambulatory Paediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Canada.


We analyzed studies concerned with four important aspects of vesicoureteral reflux in infancy and childhood: the imaging procedures for the evaluation of vesicoureteral reflux, the treatment of reflux, and the correlation between reflux and later development of hypertension and end-stage kidney disease. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the validity and reliability of the current literature, to draw conclusions, and to recommend future studies for unresolved issues. We reached the following conclusions: (1) Retrograde cystography should be the gold standard for diagnosing vesicoureteral reflux. When ultrasonography and cystography are performed together, all clinically important abnormalities in the urinary system are detected. Intravenous pyelography is needed only when either or both of these studies are abnormal. (2) Other than abolishing reflux, surgery offers no short-term advantages (in terms of preventing breakthrough urinary tract infections, improving renal function, or preventing the development of new scars, hypertension, or end-stage kidney disease) over medical management. (3) The short periods of follow-up and methodologic flaws encountered in the reviewed studies make determination of the incidence of hypertension in children with vesicoureteral reflux impossible. (4) Although indications for an association between vesicoureteral reflux and end-stage kidney disease exist, the strength of this association has not been determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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