The objective of the study was the development of an abridged risk-stratified imaging algorithm for the management of children with unilateral ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJO). Data on timing, frequency and duration of diagnostic imaging in children with unilateral UPJO was extracted retrospectively. Based on these findings, an abridged imaging algorithm was developed without changing the intended management by the clinicians and the outcome of the individual patient. The potential reduction of imaging studies was analysed and stratified by risk and management groups. The reduction in imaging studies, seen for ultrasound (US) and functional imaging (FI), was 45% each. On average, this is equivalent to 3 US and 1 FI studies less for every patient within the study period. The change was more pronounced in the low-risk groups. Progression of UPJO never occurred after 2 years of age and all secondary surgeries were carried out until the age of 3.
CONCLUSIONS: Although our findings need to be validated by further prospective research, the developed imaging algorithm represents a risk-stratified approach towards less imaging studies in children with unilateral UPJO, and a follow-up beyond 3 years of age should be considered only in selected cases at the discretion of the clinician. What is Known: ultrasound and functional imaging represent an integral part of therapeutic decision-making in children with unilateral ureteropelvic junction obstruction imaging studies cannot accurately assess which patients are in need of surgical intervention, therefore close, serial imaging is preferred What is New: a new, risk-stratified imaging algorithm was developed for the first 3 years of life applying this algorithm could lead to a considerable reduction of imaging studies, and also the associated risks and health-care costs.