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Pediatrics. 2011 Jul;128(1):e169-79. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-3460. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

Acute Tc-99m DMSA scan for identifying dilating vesicoureteral reflux in children: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Democritus University of Thrace and University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Thrace, Greece.


Controversy exists regarding the type and/or sequence of imaging studies needed during the first febrile urinary tract infection (UTI) in young children. Several investigators have claimed that because acute-phase Tc-99m dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renal-scan results are abnormal in the presence of dilating vesicoureteral reflux, a normal DMSA-scan result makes voiding cystourethrography (VCUG) unnecessary in the primary examination of infants with UTI. To evaluate the accuracy of acute-phase DMSA scanning in identifying dilating (grades III through V) vesicoureteral reflux documented by VCUG in children with a first febrile UTI, we performed a meta-analysis of the accuracy of diagnostic tests as reported from relevant studies identified through the PubMed and Scopus databases. Patient-based and renal unit-based analyses were performed. Overall, 13 cohort studies were identified. Nine studies involved patients younger than 2 years, 3 involved children aged 16 years or younger, and 1 involved exclusively neonates. Girls constituted 22% to 85% of the involved children. Pooled (95% confidence intervals) sensitivity and specificity rates of DMSA scanning were 79% and 53%, respectively, for the patient-based analysis (8 studies) and 60% and 65% for the renal unit-based analysis (5 studies). The respective areas under the hierarchical summary receiver operating curves were 0.71 and 0.67. Marked statistical heterogeneity was observed in both analyses, as indicated by I(2) test values of 91% and 87%, respectively. Acute-phase DMSA renal scanning cannot be recommended as replacement for VCUG in the evaluation of young children with a first febrile UTI.

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