Diuretic renography in hydronephrosis: renal tissue tracer transit predicts functional course and thereby need for surgery
PURPOSE In this prospective study we evaluated the results of captopril enhanced diuretic renography in patients with congenital unilateral ureteropelvic junction type hydronephrosis. Captopril renography helps to distinguish patients who have renin-angiotensin system activation from those in whom it is not yet activated. Renin-angiotensin system activation heralds the beginning of compensatory vasoactive response in the kidney. Identifying grades of such activation may help in determine the end points of nonoperative management. MATERIALS AND METHODS We prospectively studied 25 patients with suspected unilateral ureteropelvic junction obstruction treated at our department. A prenatal diagnosis was made in 60% of cases. Patient age was 1 to 144 months (mean 40) and the male-to-female ratio was 4:1. Followup was 6 to 72 months (mean 30). Patient evaluation and analysis included sonography, standard diuretic and captopril renography, glomerular filtration rate, serum creatinine and blood pressure. The indications for surgery were symptoms, differential function below 35%, or a documented decrease of 10% or more during followup. Activation of the renin-angiotensin system was considered positive when split renal function decreased significantly by 5% or more in an obstructed system on a post-captopril study. The results of captopril renography were examined retrospectively in patients who required surgery according to preexisting criteria. RESULTS Society for Fetal Urology hydronephrosis grade was II to IV in 8, 10 and 7 renal units, respectively. The renin-angiotensin system was activated in 8 of the 25 cases (32%) of unilateral ureteropelvic junction obstruction. In 15 patients there was no change on pre-captopril and post-captopril studies and in 2 split renal function on the obstructed side marginally increased on the post-captopril study. Surgical correction was required in only 6 of the 8 patients with renin-angiotensin system activation. Of those who required surgery hydronephrosis was grades II to IV in 3, 1 and in 2 patients, respectively. CONCLUSIONS In the current study renin-angiotensin system activation correlated with the need for surgery in 75% of the cases of congenital unilateral ureteropelvic type hydronephrosis. Since captopril serves to identify patients who have renin-angiotensin system activation, it may also be possible to grade this activation. Our preliminary results show that there may be a role for captopril renography for identifying the risk group for surgical intervention.