What is the role of imaging studies in the assessment of acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection)?

Updated: Jul 01, 2021
  • Author: Tibor Fulop, MD, PhD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Imaging studies that may be used in assessing acute pyelonephritis include the following:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning - To identify alterations in renal parenchymal perfusion; alterations in contrast excretion, perinephric fluid, and nonrenal disease; gas-forming infections; hemorrhage; inflammatory masses; and obstruction
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – To detect kidney infection or masses and urinary obstruction, as well as to evaluate renal vasculature
  • Ultrasonography - To screen for urinary obstruction in children admitted for febrile illnesses and to examine patients for kidney abscesses, acute focal bacterial nephritis, and stones (in xanthogranulomatous pyelonephritis)
  • Scintigraphy - To detect focal renal abnormalities
  • CT and MR urography - Used in the evaluation of hematuria

See Workup for more detail.

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