The Delayed Nephrogram: Point-of-care Quantitative Measurement, Validation as an Indicator of Obstruction, and Novel Use as a Predictor of Renal Functional Impairment.

Publication/Presentation Date



BACKGROUND: The diagnostic value of delayed nephrograms on contrast-enhanced computed tomography has not been studied rigorously.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a method for quantitatively assessing delayed and diminished nephrograms (DDNs) easily at the point of care and to assess the association of DDNs with renal obstruction and renal function.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data were reviewed from 76 patients who underwent a contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan within 30 days of a technetium-99m mercaptoacetyltriglycine diuretic renal scintigraphy (MAG3-DRS) which showed at least one kidney to have normal drainage (T1/2 <10 >min) between 2010 and 2021 at a tertiary academic center.

OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Attenuations of the renal cortex and medulla were measured using circular regions of interest. These attenuations were compared between kidneys to compute several measures of DDN in the kidney with a greater concern for obstruction. Renal parenchymal volume and anterior-posterior renal pelvis diameter (APD) were estimated using simple linear measurements. Inter-rater reliability was computed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), correlations were computed using Spearman's R, and the relationships between DDN, APD, and renal function of the subject kidney were estimated using linear regression.

RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Measures of DDN were highly reliable between raters (ICC 0.71-0.87). DDN was almost always associated with prolonged drainage on MAG3-DRS (90-100%); however, 33-52% of patients with prolonged drainage on MAG3-DRS had no appreciable DDN, depending on the measure of the DDN chosen. All measures of DDN were associated with decreased renal function (

CONCLUSIONS: DDNs on contrast-enhanced computed tomography are associated with renal obstruction and can easily and accurately be quantified at the point of care. A DDN is more closely associated with renal dysfunction than renal pelvic dilation and therefore may be useful in assessing the severity of upper tract obstruction.

PATIENT SUMMARY: In this report, we confirm that a "delayed nephrogram", a classic x-ray finding thought to be associated with kidney blockage, is associated with blockage of the affected kidney. Furthermore, we show that a delayed nephrogram indicates that the affected kidney is not functioning as well as we would expect for a normal kidney of the same size. Since the severity of a delayed nephrogram predicts this decreased function better than the degree of dilation of the kidney, which is a different measurement often used to measure the severity of kidney blockage, the delayed nephrogram may be a better way of measuring the severity of kidney blockage in clinical practice.





First Page


Last Page





Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

Document Type