Management considerations for treating vesicoureteral reflux in children with solitary kidneys

Lane S. Palmer*, Greg J. Andros, Max Maizels, William E. Kaplan, Casimir F. Firlit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives. To evaluate the management approach for vesicoureteral reflux (reflux) into a solitary kidney. Methods. Outcomes of all children with solitary kidneys and reflux managed between 1981 and 1996 were reviewed. Solitary kidneys were documented by nuclear renography and ultrasonography; reflux was graded after cystography. Management consisted of observation and antimicrobial prophylaxis or surgery by ureteroneocystostomy or subureteric injection of polytetrafluoroethylene (STING). Follow-up ranged from 3 months to 14 years and included serial cystography, sonography, and serum creatinine measurement. Results. Twenty-one patients with a median follow-up of 26 months were identified. Etiologies included contralateral renal agenesis (14 children), multicystic dysplastic kidney (5 children), or nonfunctioning ureteropelvic junction obstruction (2 children). Low-grade (I to II) reflux was identified in 6 children, and high grade (III to V) was identified in 15. Reflux resolved in 20 patients. Five children with low-grade reflux were managed without surgery and demonstrated reflux resolution after a mean of 20.5 months. Renal function deteriorated in only 1 child. Ureteroneocystostomy was performed in 13 children with grades III to V reflux, and STING was performed in 1 child with grade II reflux. Every surgical patient maintained stable renal function and was infection-free during a mean follow-up of 56 months. Management by observation in 2 children with grades IV to V reflux resulted in spontaneous resolution in one and stable grade IV in the other. Conclusions. Reflux into the solitary functioning kidney may be managed by the same strategies used to manage unilateral reflux in children with two normally functioning kidneys: low- grade reflux by observation/chemoprophylaxis until spontaneous resolution occurs, and higher grades by surgery to protect renal function; however, chemoprophylaxis and serial imaging may be used until well-defined indications for surgery are satisfied. Renal function should be monitored diligently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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