JOURNAL ARTICLE

Unenhanced helical computed tomography for the evaluation of suspected renal colic in the adolescent population: a pilot study

J Lumerman, M D Gershbaum, J Hines, P Nardi, P Beuchert, D S Katz
Urology 2001, 57 (2): 342-6
11182351

OBJECTIVES: Unenhanced helical computed tomography (UHCT) is rapidly becoming the preferred imaging modality for the evaluation of suspected renal colic in the adult population; however, a series addressing its use in the adolescent population has not been previously published. We assessed the utility of UHCT in the evaluation of suspected renal colic in this age group.

METHODS: Seventeen patients between the ages of 8 and 18 years (mean 14.7) presented to the emergency departments of four hospitals for evaluation of suspected renal colic. All patients were studied with UHCT immediately after initial evaluation. A single helical acquisition was performed from the midpoint of T-12 vertebra to a point below the bladder base, using a slice thickness of 5 mm. Films were reviewed by the institutional radiologist, and results were quantified.

RESULTS: Of the 17 patients who underwent evaluation, no abnormality was detected in 8 patients. A stone was localized in 7 patients who were then appropriately treated. One patient had no stone visualized, but secondary signs suggested a recently passed stone. The final patient had no stone; however, marked bilateral hydroureteronephrosis was noted that led to further evaluation. A single phlebolith was seen in only 1 patient, and no study was nondiagnostic.

CONCLUSIONS: UHCT is a safe, rapidly performed test for the evaluation of suspected renal colic in adolescents. It is highly sensitive and specific for renal and ureteral calculi and, more importantly, allows visualization of alternate pathology. In addition, secondary signs are seen that aid in determining obstruction and are helpful if no stone is visualized. Phleboliths, which can simulate a stone, are rarely seen in adolescence. We believe UHCT allows for rapid triage and localization of stones and should be recommended as the primary diagnostic modality for the evaluation of adolescents with suspected renal colic.

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