Sonographically Diagnosed Urothelial Thickening in Kidney Allografts: A Noninvasive and Clinically Highly Relevant Marker for the Detection of Acute Rejection

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to investigate the significance of sonographic features in assessing for acute kidney allograft rejection in the modern era. MATERIALS AND METHODS. In this retrospective study, 107 adult patients with a kidney allograft biopsy performed between 2015 and 2018 and diagnostic ultrasound performed within 2 weeks of the biopsy were included. Acute rejection was diagnosed on the basis of biopsy tissue sample results using the Banff criteria. The following ultrasound features were assessed: perfusion, cortical echogenicity, corticomedullary differentiation, urothelial thickening, change in renal length, renal artery velocity, and intraparenchymal arterial resistive index. Subjective measures of perfusion, echogenicity, corticomedullary differentiation, and urothelial thickening were assessed independently and in consensus by three abdominal radiologists; multirater kappa values were calculated for interobserver variability. The Wilcoxon rank sum test and chi-square test were used to evaluate the differences between two groups (rejection vs no rejection) and the sonographic features. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated for sonographic features that are associated with acute rejection. RESULTS. Of the sonographic features, only the presence of urothelial thickening was significantly associated with acute rejection (p < 0.001) and had substantial agreement (κ = 0.61) among readers. Urothelial thickening was highly sensitive (96%; 95% CI, 79-100%) with a high NPV (98%; 95% CI, 86-100%). CONCLUSION. Urothelial thickening on ultrasound is a highly sensitive finding for acute kidney rejection with a high NPV and thus may play a role in sonographic prebiopsy screening. Other historically associated sonographic features seem to play little, if any, role in the screening and assessment for kidney allograft rejection in the modern era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-152
Number of pages5
JournalAJR. American journal of roentgenology
Volume215
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • kidney
  • rejection
  • transplant
  • ultrasound
  • urothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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