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Renal Papillary Necrosis Appearing as Bladder Cancer on Imaging

Lawrence M Dagrosa, Fady Ghali, Elizabeth Ann Gormley
Journal of Endourology Case Reports 2016, 2 (1): 27-9
A 79-year-old woman with a history of diabetes mellitus and recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) presented with acute onset left lower quadrant pain, left-sided back pain, vomiting, and dysuria. Abdominopelvic CT scan revealed left hydroureteronephrosis to the level of the left ureterovesical junction (UVJ) where a bladder mass appeared to be obstructing the left ureteral orifice. The obstruction was ultimately found to be the result of a sloughed renal papilla lodged in the distal ureter, which created an inflammatory mass at the UVJ. Her history of diabetes and frequent UTIs likely predisposed her to the development of renal papillary necrosis (RPN) that resulted in sloughing of a renal papilla, distal ureteral obstruction with subsequent bladder inflammation that mimicked a bladder mass on imaging. RPN is a condition associated with many etiologies and likely represents a common final pathway of several diseases. Although several hypotheses exist, it is primarily thought to be ischemic in nature and is related to the underlying physiology of the renal papillae. We present a case of hydroureteronephrosis and bladder mass secondary to a sloughed renal papilla from RPN.

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