What is antenatal hydronephrosis?
Antenatal (before birth) hydronephrosis (fluid-filled enlargement of the kidney) can be detected in the fetus by ultrasound studies performed as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. In most instances this diagnosis will not change obstetric care, but will require careful follow-up and possible surgery during infancy and childhood.
What causes antenatal hydronephrosis?
Possible causes of antenatal hydronephrosis include:
How is antenatal hydronephrosis managed?
Most cases of hydronephrosis diagnosed during pregnancy are just followed with ultrasound, monitoring the growth of the fetus and the condition of the kidneys. In these cases, a routine, normal delivery can be performed. Rarely, in a fetus with severe obstruction of both kidneys and insufficient amniotic fluid, drainage of the kidneys or bladder by tube or operation may need to be done. In these babies, however, the kidneys are often very abnormal and do not function properly regardless of treatment.
What is done to evaluate the hydronephrosis after the baby is born?
Several studies may need to be performed to evaluate the kidneys:
What can be done to treat the hydronephrosis?
The treatment of antenatal hydronephrosis depends on the underlying cause. Infants and children with who have vesicoureteral reflux are managed with antibiotics and surveillance with periodic ultrasounds and voiding cystograms. Infants and children with an obstruction or blockage of the urinary tract may require surgical correction. Babies with hydronephrosis without reflux or obstruction are followed with periodic ultrasounds to monitor the hydronephrosis and the growth of the kidneys. The management of multicystic dysplastic kidneys is controversial: the multicystic dysplastic kidney doesn't work, but the opposite kidney is usually normal. Some urologists recommend removal, whereas others do not remove the dysplastic kidney unless its large size causes problems or unless there is a question of tumor or blockage.