Diagnostic Techniques of Kidney Diseases

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. The urinary tract includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.

Ultrasound is used to evaluate a person’s native kidneys (the ones you were born with) as well as transplanted kidneys.

Renal scintigraphy uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers, a special camera and a computer to evaluate your kidneys’ function and anatomy and determine whether they are working properly

Angiography is the test of choice for the renal hypertension or high blood pressure caused by narrowing of the renal arteries that carry blood to the kidneys. Initial evaluation could be done by the use of ultrasound.

MRI involves a large and powerful magnet. Hydrogen ions in the body are used to obtain pictures of the body parts. But in regard to the kidney, an MRI gives the same information as a CT scan. In the past it was thought that the advantage was that the contrast material called gadolinium, used in an MRI, had no risk of kidney damage. However, gadolinium has now been associated with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), a potentially fatal skin disease in people with decreased kidney function. And, in a small fraction of patients, separate from NSF, gandolinium may decrease glomerular filtration rate (GFR), similar to other contrast dyes. Talk to your physician to find out if an angiogram or CT scan would be a better choice than an MRI.

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