What is the role of ultrasonography in the workup of hydronephrosis and hydroureter?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020
  • Author: Dennis G Lusaya, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Renal ultrasonography is the test of choice to exclude urinary tract obstruction, avoiding the potential allergic and toxic complications of radiocontrast media. [12] It can, in the majority of affected patients, help diagnose hydronephrosis and establish its cause; it can also detect other causes of renal disease such as polycystic kidney disease.

Although ultrasound can accurately identify hydronephrosis, it is less sensitive than computed tomography (CT) for detecting stones in the ureters. In one study, hydronephrosis on ultrasound had a positive predictive value of 0.77 for the presence of a ureteral stone and a negative predictive value of 0.71 for the absence of a ureteral stone. [13]

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