[Unenhanced spiral CT in urolithiasis: indication, performance and interpretation]

H C Thoeny, H Hoppe
RöFo: Fortschritte Auf Dem Gebiete der Röntgenstrahlen und der Nuklearmedizin 2003, 175 (7): 904-10
Unenhanced spiral computed tomography is now applied in the investigation of patients with acute flank pain to search for suspected urinary tract calculi. Spiral CT can depict urinary calculi more accurately than plain radiographs, sonography or excretory urography, and can be performed using a low dose protocol. Almost all urinary calculi, including calculi composed of uric acid, xanthine and cystine, can be detected. In addition to determining size and location of the stone, unenhanced helical CT can predict its composition. Furthermore, it reveals secondary signs of obstruction, such as dilatation of the renal collecting system and perinephric stranding. In the absence of urolithiasis, CT can frequently detect or exclude other causes of acute flank pain, thus guiding subsequent imaging and the therapeutic management.

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