Obstructive uropathy in childhood: A review

  • N Eke
  • SN Elenwo


Background: Obstructive uropathy is any affection of the urinary tract characterized by impairment of urine flow through the tract and which, if left untreated, will cause progressive renal damage. Aim: To present an update on obstructive uropathy in children with emphasis on the situation in Nigeria. Methods: Contemporary information on the management of obstructive uropathy was obtained by searching the Medline and adding information from the authors\' experience. Results: Obstructive uropathy causes renal impairment in all age groups. The causes in children may be congenital or acquired. The congenital causes include pelvi-ureteric junction obstructions, posterior urethral valves (PUV), urethral atresia, phimosis and meatal stenosis. Associated anomalies include imperforate anus and vertebral malformations. Acquired causes include calculi, post-traumatic and post-inflammatory strictures and meatal stenosis. Some specific manifestations are prune-belly syndrome, hydronephrosis and renal failure. Diagnostic investigations include ultrasonography, intravenous urography, cystography and renography. Recent technological advances have impacted on the treatment of the different lesions. These include in utero vesico-amniotic shunt and endoscopic valve ablation for PUV and minimally invasive techniques for urolithiasis. Nephrectomy may be indicated in a unilateral damaged kidney. Not all lesions require treatment. Criteria to select patients for treatment require definition. Occasionally treatment fails because of pretreatment irreversible renal damage. The resulting end-stage renal failure is an indication for renal transplantation. Conclusion: Obstructive uropathy is an important cause of renal impairment. Contemporary advances in the management are yet to become available in developing countries. Compromise treatment options therefore prevail. Adequate treatment is essential to prevent end-stage renal failure.

Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1 (3) 2007: pp. 137-144

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