Bedside Doppler ultrasound for the assessment of renal perfusion in the ICU: advantages and limitations of the available techniques
Acute renal failure is a sudden and sustained decrease in the glomerular filtration rate associated with a loss of excretory function and the accumulation of metabolic waste products and water. It leads to an increase in serum urea and creatinine, usually with a decrease in urine output. Although routine surveillance of patients by means of laboratory examinations has been well defined, very little is known about renal imaging. Modern technology has provided a large number of sophisticated monitoring systems. Ultrasonography with color-Doppler study of the kidneys may be indicated as a possible monitor of renal perfusion. Ultrasonography is often used as the initial imaging procedure in the examination of patients with renal failure. Aside from excluding hydronephrosis, it is well recognized in characterizing the type of renal disease, especially in an acute setting. This article describes the use of ultrasound to achieve the proper diagnosis of acute renal diseases and to enable the appropriate and early assessment of these patients in intensive care units.