Detection of medullary and papillary necrosis at an early stage by multiphasic helical computerized tomography

E K Lang, R J Macchia, R Thomas, R Davis, G Ruiz-Deya, R A Watson, F Richter, B Gayle
Journal of Urology 2003, 170 (1): 94-8

PURPOSE: Multiphasic helical computerized tomography (CT) is advocated to identify early manifestations of papillary and medullary necrosis based on decreased enhancement of circumscribed areas in the medullary pyramid. At this stage the devascularizing process can be reversed if causative conditions such as infections or diabetes mellitus are effectively treated.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiphasic helical CTs were performed in 31 male and 26 female patients with complaints of microscopic hematuria (41), macroscopic hematuria (2), bacteriuria (39) and pyuria (9). Pre-enhancement, arterial, early corticomedullary, parenchymal and excretory phase helical CTs generated 1.25 to 5 mm. thick slices. Followup examination included multiphasic helical CT at 1 and 3 months, and excretory urography for some patients at 3 months.

RESULTS: Bacteriuria was identified as the probable cause of medullary and papillary necrosis in 39 patients, of whom 28 were treated with effective antibiotic therapy, resulting in normalization and re-perfusion of the initial lesion in 16, no change in 5 and progressive disease in 7 at 3-month followup. Of 8 lesions not treated with specific antibiotic therapy 4 progressed and 4 remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: Multiphasic helical CT unlike the excretory urogram can identify medullary and papillary necrosis at an early stage when effective treatment of the underlying cause can reverse the process of devascularization and prevent sloughing of medullary tissues.

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