Renal ultrasound to evaluate for blunt renal trauma in children: A retrospective comparison to contrast enhanced CT imaging

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4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The standard imaging modality for hemodynamically stable blunt abdominal trauma patients is a contrast enhanced CT scan, which is reflected in the current AUA urotrauma guidelines. This comes, however, with radiation exposure and the potential sequalae of IV contrast administration in the pediatric patient. Objective: We hypothesize that ultrasound imaging would be able to diagnose and rule out clinically significant renal injuries when compared to the gold standard of CT scan in the setting of pediatric blunt abdominal trauma. Study design: All children <18 years of age who were evaluated for blunt abdominal trauma who had a CT scan and ultrasound imaging of kidneys were identified. The ultrasound images were reviewed by four reviewers who were blinded to CT results and all clinical information. The ability of ultrasound to diagnose and rule out clinically significant renal injury was evaluated by diagnostic test performance characteristics including sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value and positive predictive value. Results: There were 76 patients identified, 24 of which had a renal injury (1 bilateral) diagnosed by CT scan for a total of 25 injuries in 152 renal units. There were six grade I-II injuries and 19 grade III-V injuries. The sensitivity of the four blinded reviewers by ultrasound alone to detect the 19 grade III-V injuries ranged from 79 to 100% with NPV between 97 and 100%. Three of the four reviewers identified all 19 grade III-V injuries by ultrasound. When combined with significant hematuria, all 19 grade III-IV injuries were identified. Of note, all patients with a grade III-V injury of the kidney had significant hematuria. Of the grade I-II renal injuries, all reviewers identified 1/5 or 2/5 by ultrasound alone. Discussion: The limitations of this study include: its retrospective nature, limited number of patients and reviewers, quality of the ultrasound machine. and experience of technologist, radiologist and urologist. A major limitation is the inability to assess other solid organ injuries during this initial study. Conclusions: When compared to a CT scan as the gold standard, kidney ultrasound images had a sensitivity of 79–100% to detect grade III-V injuries and NPV of 97–100% by four blinded reviewers. All grade III-V injuries had either an episode of gross hematuria or microscopic hematuria >50 RBC/hpf. A prospective study that includes full abdominal imaging is needed to confirm that ultrasound can safely be used in place of CT scan for evaluation of hemodynamically stable blunt trauma patients. [Table presented]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557.e1-557.e7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • CT scan
  • Computed tomography
  • Diagnostic test study
  • Hematuria
  • Pediatric
  • Renal trauma
  • Renal ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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