The term “obstructive uropathy” refers to the complex structural and functional changes following the interruption of normal urinary runoff, which can occur at every level of the urinary tract. Depending on its origin, duration and severity, urinary tract obstructions can be acute or chronic, mono or bilateral, partial or complete. The obstruction can be localized or extended to the entire pielo-caliceal system and/or homolateral urethra.
The term “hydronephrosis” indicates the dilation of the pelvis detected through imaging techniques. Among these, ultrasound is considered the gold standard in the diagnosis of obstructive uropathy: it allows to distinguish three degrees of urinary tract dilation, depending on the extent of the dilation itself and the thickness of the parenchyma. Nephrologists are confronted daily with patients who experience kidney failure and must be able to quickly distinguish between chronic and acute and, in the latter case, to discern between issues of nephrological or urological competence. This short review aims at helping them deal with this very common scenario, through the use of ultrasound.
Keywords: acute renal failure, chronic renal failure, obstructive uropathy, imaging, ultrasound