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Development of renal scars on CT after abdominal trauma: does grade of injury matter?

OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to determine whether there is an association between the grade of a traumatic renal injury and the subsequent development of renal parenchymal scars on CT.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective study encompassing all acute trauma patients admitted to our institution over a 42-month period found to have renal parenchyma injuries on initial MDCT and also to have undergone a follow-up CT performed at least 1 month after trauma. We identified 54 patients who sustained blunt (n = 44) or penetrating (n = 10) abdominal trauma. The renal injuries were graded by two radiologists according to the Organ Injury Scaling Committee of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), grades I through V. Follow-up CT was reviewed for the presence of parenchymal distortion, scarring, or perfusion defects.

RESULTS: Of the 54 patients, 12 had grade I injury, eight had grade II injury, 22 had grade III injury, 10 had grade IV injury, and two had grade V injury. Grades I and II traumatic renal injuries were undetectable on follow-up CT. Grade III injuries resulted in the development of renal scars in 14 of 22 (64%) patients. Scarring resulted in all patients with grades IV and V injuries.

CONCLUSION: Grades I and II renal injuries heal completely, whereas higher grades of renal trauma result in permanent parenchymal scarring. Hence, incidentally discovered renal scars in patients with a history of minor renal trauma should be attributed tentatively to other causes that may or may not require additional investigation.

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