Research Article| Volume 19, ISSUE 1, P75-82, February 2023

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How can we measure the renal pelvic anteroposterior diameter in postnatal isolated hydronephrosis?



      The anteroposterior diameter (APD) of the renal pelvis is a commonly used ultrasound parameter in the evaluation and management of hydronephrosis. It has been established that an APD value associated with pyeloplasty is around 25 mm. Some believe the APD should be measured at the innermost part of the renal pelvis while others suggest that it should be done at the renal contour. However, there is no consensus on the optimal APD measurement technique including whether it should be measured supine or prone. This study compared six different techniques of APD measurements, in both supine and prone positions, and further evaluated their association with pyeloplasty.


      Data was obtained by retrospectively reviewing patients’ charts that had initial high-grade hydronephrosis (HGH) from 2008 to 2014. We recorded the patients’ demographics, ultrasound data and management choice. In the mid-renal transverse plane, the APD was measured by 2 blinded investigators, at the intra-renal, renal contour and extra-renal regions of the renal pelvis in supine and prone positions (Figure A). We compared the six APD measurements based on the outcome of management (pyeloplasty vs. conservative management). The ROC curve obtained was then used to assess the ability of various APD measurements in predicting surgical intervention. The cutoff value chosen that predicts pyeloplasty was the lowest diameter with 100% specificity.


      We included 129 patients (134 renal units). Forty-four renal units (42 patients) underwent pyeloplasty whereas 90 renal units (87 patients) were managed conservatively. Patients’ demographics were grouped by both SFU grade and clinical outcome. Regardless of grade, the APD measurements were different in all 6 techniques. All APD measurement techniques showed good inter-rater reliability. Based on the ROC curve, all APD measurements were associated with pyeloplasty with an AUC from 0.89 to 0.91. The supine extra-renal APD measurement of 24 mm was the most sensitive cutoff value. The cutoff values ranged from 18 to 27 mm when including patients from all grades of hydronephrosis. The median APD measurements were significantly less for SFU grade 3 than grade 4 hydronephrosis in all positions (P < 0.001 for all measurements), yet the predictive cutoff value of 24 mm for the supine extra-renal was similar for both grades.


      Summary Figure
      Graphical AbstractIllustrates how APD was measured in supine (a) and prone (b) transverse mid-renal views at the intrarenal pelvis, renal contour and extrarenal pelvis locations.


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