Which physical findings are characteristic of hydronephrosis and hydroureter in children?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020
  • Author: Dennis G Lusaya, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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In children, the physical examination, especially in a newborn, can help detect abnormalities that suggest genitourinary abnormalities associated with antenatal hydronephrosis. These include the following:

  • The presence of an abdominal mass could represent an enlarged kidney due to obstructive uropathy or multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK).

  • A palpable bladder in a male infant, especially after voiding, may suggest posterior urethral valves.

  • A male infant with prune belly syndrome will have deficient abdominal wall musculature and undescended testes. The presence of associated anomalies should be noted.

  • The presence of outer ear abnormalities is associated with an increased risk of congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT).

  • A single umbilical artery is associated with an increased risk of CAKUT, particularly VUR.

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