What is the role of MRI in the workup of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020
  • Author: Roser Torra, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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MRI is more sensitive than either ultrasonography or CT scanning. It may be more helpful in distinguishing renal cell carcinoma from simple cysts.

MRI is the best imaging tool for monitoring kidney size after treatment to assess progress, and it is the criterion standard to help determine renal volume for clinical trials of drugs for ADPKD. However, it is not routinely used because it is expensive and tedious. It should not be used unless the patient is in a protocol or similar situation.

Spithoven et al reported that determining measured total kidney volume (TKV) by MRI and manual tracing took an average of 55 minutes, but a recently proposed MRI method for estimating TKV, eTKVellipsoid, required an average of only 5 minutes. In their comparison study, eTKVellipsoid performed relatively well compared with mTKV and could detect change in TKV over time. [34]

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