PURPOSE: Little data is available on noninvasive MRI-based assessment of renal function during upper urinary tract (UUT) obstruction. In this study, we determined whether functional multiparametric kidney MRI is able to monitor treatment response in acute unilateral UUT obstruction.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between 01/2008 and 01/2010, 18 patients with acute unilateral UUT obstruction due to calculi were prospectively enrolled to undergo kidney MRI with conventional, blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) and diffusion-weighted (DW) sequences on emergency admission and after release of obstruction. Functional imaging parameters of the obstructed and contralateral unobstructed kidneys derived from BOLD (apparent spin relaxation rate [R2*]) and DW (total apparent diffusion coefficient [ADCT], pure diffusion coefficient [ADCD] and perfusion fraction [FP]) sequences were assessed during acute UUT obstruction and after its release.
RESULTS: During acute obstruction, R2* and FP values were lower in the cortex (p=0.020 and p=0.031, respectively) and medulla (p=0.012 and p=0.190, respectively) of the obstructed compared to the contralateral unobstructed kidneys. After release of obstruction, R2* and FP values increased both in the cortex (p=0.016 and p=0.004, respectively) and medulla (p=0.071 and p=0.044, respectively) of the formerly obstructed kidneys to values similar to those found in the contralateral kidneys. ADCT and ADCD values did not significantly differ between obstructed and contralateral unobstructed kidneys during or after obstruction.
CONCLUSIONS: In our patients with acute unilateral UUT obstruction due to calculi, functional kidney MRI using BOLD and DW sequences allowed for the monitoring of pathophysiologic changes of obstructed kidneys during obstruction and after its release.