Risk factors for kidney scarring and vesicoureteral reflux in 421 children after their first acute pyelonephritis, and appraisal of international guidelines

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BACKGROUND: Acute pyelonephritis (AP) is a common bacterial infection in childhood. Follow-up guidelines on these children are controversial. This study aimed to identify risk factors for kidney scarring and vesicoureteral reflux (VUR). Furthermore, international follow-up guidelines were used for simulation to evaluate sensitivity and specificity.

METHODS: Urinary culture-confirmed first-time AP patients (aged 0-14 years) were enrolled (n = 421) from review of patient charts. All underwent kidney ultrasound (US) and a technetium-99m-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scan or technetium-99m-mercaptoacetyltriglycine scinti-renography (MAG3) at 4-6 months of follow-up. The international guidelines used for simulation were from the National Institute of Health UK (NICE), the American Association of Paediatrics (AAP) and the Swedish Paediatric Society (SPS).

RESULTS: 17.8% presented with an abnormal DMSA/MAG3 at follow-up, 7.1% were diagnosed with VUR grades III-V and 4.7% were admitted for surgery. Non-Escherichia coli infections, abnormal kidney US, elevated creatinine and delayed response to treatment (>48 h) were risk factors for abnormal DMSA findings and VUR grades III-V. NICE and SPS guidelines showed best sensitivity in diagnosing VUR grades III-V (75%) compared with AAP (56%).

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors are helpful in identifying the children in need of further investigations and minimizing invasive work-up for the rest. International guidelines on follow-up detect a varying number of children with kidney damage and/or significant VUR. Future work must focus on identifying more specific risk factors, better imaging, or specific biomarkers, to enhance sensitivity and specificity in detecting the children at high risk for developing recurrent infections and/or nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric nephrology (Berlin, Germany)
Volume36
Issue9
Pages (from-to)2777-2787
Number of pages11
ISSN0931-041X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

    Research areas

  • Children, Infants, International guidelines, Preschool, Risk factors, Urinary tract infection, VUR

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