INTRODUCTION — The clinical significance of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) has been based on the premise that VUR predisposes patients to acute pyelonephritis by transporting bacteria from the bladder to the kidney, which may lead to kidney scarring, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, aspects of this long-held belief about VUR have been increasingly questioned. As a result, the clinical impact of VUR and its management remain uncertain and controversial.
The presentation, diagnosis, and clinical course of primary VUR will be reviewed here. The management of primary VUR is discussed separately. (See "Management of vesicoureteral reflux".)
DEFINITION AND PATHOGENESIS — VUR is the retrograde passage of urine from the bladder into the upper urinary tract. It is divided into two categories: primary and secondary based on the underlying pathogenesis.
Primary VUR — Primary VUR, the most common form of reflux, is due to incompetent or inadequate closure of the ureterovesical junction (UVJ), which contains a segment of the ureter within the bladder wall (intravesical ureter). Normally, reflux is prevented during bladder contraction by fully compressing the intravesical ureter and sealing it off with the surrounding bladder muscles.
In primary VUR, failure of this anti-reflux mechanism is due to a congenitally short intravesical ureter (figure 1). The intravesical ureter length may be genetically determined, which may explain the increased incidence in family members of patients with VUR.
Spontaneous resolution of primary low-grade VUR commonly occurs with patient growth . As the bladder grows, the intravesical ureter increases in length, improving the function of the anti-reflux mechanism. (See 'Natural history' below.)
Secondary VUR — Secondary VUR is a result of abnormally high voiding pressure in the bladder that results in failure of the closure of the UVJ during bladder contraction. Secondary VUR is often associated with anatomic (eg, posterior urethral valves) or functional bladder obstruction (eg, bladder bowel dysfunction [BBD] and neurogenic bladder) . The degree and chronicity of obstruction can influence the severity of VUR. (See "Clinical presentation and diagnosis of posterior urethral valves", section on 'Vesicoureteral reflux' and "Myelomeningocele (spina bifida): Urinary tract complications".)
EPIDEMIOLOGY — Primary VUR is the most common urologic finding in children, occurring in approximately 1 percent of newborns . The prevalence increases for neonates with prenatal hydronephrosis (up to 15 percent) [4,5], and for children with febrile urinary tract infections (UTIs) (ranging from 30 to 45 percent) .
The risk for primary VUR varies based on ethnicity, sex, and age. This was shown in a retrospective study from a single urban center in the United States that diagnosed VUR in 3661 of 15,504 children who were screened by a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) . The following observations were made:
●Ethnicity – White children were three times more likely to have VUR than Black children. The maximal grade of reflux was significantly lower in Black children.
●Sex – In this cohort, females were twice as likely to have reflux as males. However, the sex difference is smaller in countries where circumcision is not routinely performed [8,9]. In contrast, there is a male predominance in patients who present with prenatal hydronephrosis [3,10]. (See 'Natural history' below.)
●Age – Young children and infants (younger than two years of age) were more likely to have VUR than older children as there is spontaneous resolution with growth in the majority of affected children. (See 'Natural history' below.)
In the United States, the predominance of female sex and White ethnicity appears to be greater in the subset of young children who are diagnosed after an episode of UTI. This was illustrated in the Randomized Intervention for Vesicoureteral Reflux (RIVUR) trial that reported that 81 percent of the 607 children with VUR diagnosed after febrile and/or symptomatic UTI were White and 92 percent were females . In contrast, there is a male predominance in patients with prenatal presentation. In Europe and Asia, male predominance persists through early infancy most likely because neonatal circumcision is less commonly performed, resulting in a higher incidence of UTI, which may prompt an evaluation for VUR. (See 'Clinical presentation' below and "Urinary tract infections in children: Epidemiology and risk factors", section on 'Lack of circumcision'.)
GENETICS — There is a genetic predisposition for primary vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), as documented by a systematic review that found prevalence rates of 27.4 percent for siblings of a patient with VUR, and 35.7 percent for children of an affected parent . The risk of VUR decreased as the age of the screened family member increased, at an estimated annual resolution rate of 4 percent. The familial rate was lower for more severe compared with milder forms of VUR (9.8 percent for Grades III to IV versus 16.7 percent for Grades I to II). (See 'Grading' below.)
Additional data supporting a genetic predisposition was provided by a small study of multiple gestation births that found a higher VUR rate in identical twins (12 out of 15 twin sets, 80 percent) compared with fraternal twins (11 out of 31 twin sets, 35 percent) .
Primary VUR appears to be genetically heterogeneous.
●In a study of 460 families, parametric linkage analysis using a dominant model revealed linkage to a region on chromosome 10q26 encompassing 69 genes .
●A second study using a similar approach for a large 97-member family with VUR and joint hypermobility, mapped the disorder to a locus on chromosome 6p . Using whole exome sequencing, they identified a causal heterozygous missense variant in Tenascin XB, TNXB, a large extracellular matrix protein that regulates collagen deposition, indicating that perturbations in the extracellular matrix that supports the ureterovesical junction may predispose to VUR. These results are particularly compelling since VUR is associated with joint hypermobility in some children .
Research studies have also suggested a genetic susceptibility of individuals to kidney scarring, which may explain the variability in scarring in many children with VUR [16,17]. A study examined copy number variants in children from the RIVUR cohort and found that copy number variants (CNVs) implicated in the innate immune response were enriched in children with VUR compared with age- and ethnicity-matched controls .
Prenatal presentation — The presence of VUR is suggested by the finding of hydronephrosis on prenatal ultrasonography. (See "Fetal hydronephrosis: Etiology and prenatal management" and "Postnatal evaluation and management of hydronephrosis".)
In the available reports, approximately 10 to 40 percent of infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis were found to have VUR [4,5].
In a systematic review that included 34 observational studies, the pooled prevalence of VUR among infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis was 16 percent . Renal pelvic diameter (RPD) was not predictive of VUR as the etiology.
There is a male predominance in patients with VUR who present prenatally. In one study of 155 consecutive infants with VUR, 75 percent were males, and patients with Grade V reflux were almost exclusively male .
Postnatal presentation — Postnatal diagnosis of VUR is usually made after a diagnosis of a febrile UTI, and less commonly after family screening. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Imaging' and 'Testing family members' below.)
Older toilet-trained children, especially females, with VUR diagnosed after an initial UTI have a higher likelihood of having bowel and bladder dysfunction (BBD) [19-23]. (See "Management of vesicoureteral reflux", section on 'Bladder and bowel dysfunction'.)
Infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis — The evaluation of infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis is summarized in the figures (algorithm 1A-B) and discussed in detail separately. (See "Postnatal evaluation and management of hydronephrosis".)
Infants and children presenting with UTI — The evaluation for VUR in children with urinary tract infections (UTIs) is controversial, as evidence to support the utility of routine imaging for reducing long-term sequelae (kidney scarring, hypertension, kidney failure) is limited and inconclusive. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Imaging'.)
When imaging is pursued, the initial test is usually a kidney and bladder ultrasound, which assesses the size and shape of the kidneys, and detects any kidney anatomical abnormality. Indications for performing ultrasonography after a UTI are discussed separately. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Ultrasonography'.)
The next step in the evaluation for VUR is usually a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG). Indications for performing a VCUG after a UTI in infants and children are reviewed separately. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Voiding cystourethrogram'.)
DIAGNOSIS — The diagnosis of VUR is established with contrast voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) demonstrating reflux of urine from the bladder to the upper urinary tract. Alternative imaging modalities that are uncommonly used to diagnose VUR include contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography (ceVUS) or radionuclide cystogram (RNC). (See 'Imaging' below.)
VCUG versus RNC — The voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) is the test of choice to establish the presence and degree of VUR. Radionuclide cystogram (RNC) is an alternative modality. However, despite the increased radiation exposure associated with VCUG, VCUG provides greater anatomic detail. Specifically, RNC does not reliably show bladder wall appearance or Grade I reflux. RNC also does not demonstrate urethral anatomy in boys, which may be important in secondary causes of VUR (eg, posterior urethral valves). For this reason, in many centers (including ours), RNC is not used as the initial study, but may be used to monitor for persistent reflux in follow up studies.
If a VCUG or RNC is performed in infants and young children, the procedure needs to be done in referral centers that have expertise both in catheterization and, in the case of VCUG, determination and minimization of radiation exposure. In these settings, the complications of the procedures can be reduced by using standardized protocol developed by the Urology and Radiology sections of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which focuses on patient safety by minimizing radiation exposure [24,25].
CeVUS (contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography) — Contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography is a relatively new technique employing an ultrasonographic contrast agent to image the lower urinary tract and detect VUR. Although catheterization is still necessary, this technique avoids radiation. It may be more sensitive in detecting some low-grade reflux, and it can be used to image the urethra in males. Further study of this modality is needed to determine whether there is a role for this imaging technique in detecting VUR. In addition, it would not be possible to assess the ureteral diameter ratio (UDR) with this technique (see below).
Grading — The International Reflux Study Group (IRSG) developed a classification system that grades the severity of VUR based upon the degree of retrograde filling and dilation of the renal collecting system demonstrated by VCUG (figure 2) . It is important to note the subjectivity of assigning VUR grades because there is not perfect concordance even among expert readers, especially when differentiating between intermediate grades (II and III) [27,28]. This has implications when interpreting the literature and when making individual treatment decisions. In addition, it is important to use a standardized protocol for VCUG as changes in test parameters can influence test results. In our centers, we utilized the protocol developed by the AAP :
●Grade I – Reflux only fills the ureter without dilation.
●Grade II – Reflux fills the ureter and the collecting system without dilation (image 1).
●Grade III – Reflux fills and mildly dilates the ureter and the collecting system with mild blunting of the calices.
●Grade IV – Reflux fills and grossly dilates the ureter and the collecting system with blunting of the calices. Some tortuosity of the ureter is also present.
●Grade V – Massive reflux grossly dilates the collecting system. All the calices are blunted with a loss of papillary impression, and intrarenal reflux may be present (image 2). There is significant ureteral dilation and tortuosity.
In the literature, the severity of reflux has been organized into two different classifications.
The first classification:
●Mild – Grades I and II
●Moderate – Grade III
●Severe – Grades IV and V
VUR has also been divided into:
●Low – Grades I through III
●High – Grades IV and V
●Grade 1 for mild reflux – VUR Grade I
●Grade 2 for moderate reflux – VUR Grades II and III
●Grade 3 for severe reflux – VUR Grades IV and V
The use of distal ureteral diameter ratio (UDR) has been promoted to grade VUR and eliminate the subjectivity of the IRSG system [30-32]. In this proposed schema, the pelvic ureteral width is measured at its greatest diameter and compared with the spinal distance between the bottom of L1 and the top of L3. The UDR has been shown to have better interobserver reliability, and appears to be a better predictor of outcome. Preliminary data have shown children with a lower UDR had fewer breakthrough infections over time, independent of the grade of VUR or the presence of bowel and bladder dysfunction (BBD), and UDR more accurately predicted surgical intervention, and spontaneous resolution of VUR with growth correlated well with the calculated UDR. However, further research is needed to validate these findings before this system is adopted to either replace or complement the grading system currently in use.
A Vesicoureteral Reflux Index has been proposed as another tool to predict clinical outcomes and ultimate resolution with somatic growth. The index is a six-point scale based upon sex, reflux grade, ureteral abnormalities, and reflux timing. Index scores have been predictive of breakthrough infection, grade improvement over time, and resolution [33,34]. Validation of this scoring system needs to be performed in other cohorts prior to its routine use in clinical practice.
Other imaging modalities — Other imaging techniques have been proposed that either eliminate the need for catheterization and/or radiation exposure. These include ultrasound and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renal scan. However, a systematic review reported that neither kidney ultrasound nor DMSA renal scan is accurate enough to detect VUR of all grades in children with UTI .
●Kidney ultrasonography is limited in its sensitivity of detecting VUR, including cases of high-grade VUR, which may not demonstrate the associated findings of hydronephrosis or caliectasis. In the previously mentioned RIVUR trial of children with grades I to IV VUR, 90 percent of the initial kidney ultrasounds were normal . (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Ultrasonography'.)
●Although DMSA renal scan is an accurate means of detecting kidney dysmorphology secondary to VUR-related congenital kidney hypodysplasia or scarring from infection, the absence of these findings does not rule out VUR, and even cases of moderate to severe VUR may not be detected. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Renal scintigraphy'.)
Indirect radionuclide or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cystography, thermal imaging after heating bladder urine with external devices, and the use of ultrasound with sonographic contrast agents are experimental modalities, which need to be confirmed as a cost-effective alternative to VCUG [36-44].
Indirect lab tests: Not clinically useful — Indirect urinary and serum markers (procalcitonin, cystatin C, urinary mRNA, C-reactive protein, matrix metalloproteinase 9, interleukins 6 and 8, and urinary proteome analysis) have been proposed as predictive tests for VUR; however, none of these methodologies are as accurate as cystography in making the diagnosis of VUR.
Index patient — Because of the association between VUR and kidney scarring, which may lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), we suggest the following evaluation for children diagnosed with VUR:
●Comprehensive physical examination, including measurement of height, weight, and blood pressure.
●Laboratory assessment, including:
•Urinalysis to detect proteinuria.
If the urinalysis is positive for protein, a first morning urine protein/creatinine ratio should be performed because proteinuria may be an indication of significant CKD. (See "Evaluation of proteinuria in children", section on 'Measurement of urinary protein'.)
If pyuria or bacteria are detected on urinalysis, an appropriate specimen should be collected and sent for urine culture. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants and children older than one month: Clinical features and diagnosis", section on 'Urine culture'.)
•Serum creatinine should be obtained if the child has bilateral kidney involvement or solitary kidney.
●Kidney imaging – Kidney and bladder ultrasound should be performed, if not already done. Kidney ultrasound can identify anatomic abnormalities and may show evidence of renal scarring. Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renal scan is superior in detecting renal cortical abnormalities compared with other imaging modalities and should be obtained in patients who are at risk for scarring or appear to have loss of renal parenchyma on kidney ultrasound. (See 'Kidney scarring' below and "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Imaging'.)
●Assessment for symptoms of bladder and bowel dysfunction (BBD), which can be associated with VUR and recurrent UTI in older, toilet-trained children. BBD also prolongs the time to spontaneous VUR resolution. As a result, the initial evaluation should identify if there are symptoms indicative of BBD (eg, urinary frequency and urgency, daytime wetting, constipation, and encopresis), so that interventions to improve bladder and bowel function can be initiated. (See "Evaluation and diagnosis of bladder dysfunction in children" and "Management of bladder dysfunction in children" and "Management of vesicoureteral reflux", section on 'Bladder and bowel dysfunction'.)
This approach is generally consistent with the 2010 revised guidelines from the American Urological Association (AUA) . The guidelines were based on a systematic review of the available literature; however, the available studies were generally low quality. Links to these and other guidelines are provided separately. (See 'Society guideline links' below.)
Testing family members — There is debate over the advantages and disadvantages of testing for VUR in family members because there are no data on the outcomes of treated versus untreated affected first-degree family members (ie, offspring or siblings) . Our approach, which is consistent with the AUA guidelines, is to selectively test immediate family members with a kidney and bladder ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) or radionuclide cystogram (RNC) [5,47,48]. We perform testing in younger siblings and offspring (under age five years) when there is a history of BBD or UTI, or if there is concern that the family/caregiver will not be compliant in seeking medical attention when there are symptoms suggestive of UTI or unexplained fever [47,49].
Although data are limited, available evidence suggest there is increased risk of kidney scarring in siblings of patients with high-grade VUR. In an observational study of 300 siblings of 259 patients with high-grade VUR (ie, Grades III to V), almost one-quarter of the 212 siblings who underwent DMSA renal scan had evidence of kidney scarring . In a second publication from the same center, the risk for renal cortical abnormalities was increased in siblings with a previous UTI, siblings with high-grade reflux, and siblings who were over one year of age .
NATURAL HISTORY — Most children with primary VUR have spontaneous resolution [11,51-53]. The likelihood of resolution is highest in children with low-grade unilateral reflux who are diagnosed at a young age (<2 years) (figure 3) [51-58].
●Grades I and II – Approximately 70 to 80 percent of patients with grades I and II VUR have spontaneous resolution by five years of age [51,53].
●Grades III and IV – For children with grades III and IV VUR, the likelihood of spontaneous resolution varies depending on the age at presentation and whether VUR is unilateral or bilateral. In young children (<2 years old) with unilateral VUR, the rate of spontaneous resolution is approximately 60 to 70 percent over five years . By contrast, the rate of spontaneous resolution among older children (age 5 to 10 years) with bilateral reflux is approximately 10 to 20 percent over five years.
●Grade V – Spontaneous resolution is rare [54,55].
Recurrent urinary tract infection — Children with VUR are at risk for recurrent febrile or symptomatic urinary tract infections (UTIs). Children with more severe grades of VUR, and those who have associated bladder and bowel dysfunction have the highest risk of recurrent symptomatic or febrile UTIs [19,59].
While UTI episodes are not always associated with kidney scarring, they are often associated with emergency department or clinic visits, hospitalizations, loss of school days, and loss of work for caregivers.
In a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of prophylactic antibiotics in children with VUR, febrile or symptomatic UTIs occurred more commonly in children with Grade III or IV VUR compared with Grade I or II VUR (23 versus 14 percent over the two-year study follow-up) . (See "Management of vesicoureteral reflux", section on 'Antibiotic prophylaxis'.)
Loss of renal parenchyma — Kidney scarring can cause hypertension and this does not depend on the severity of scarring. Bilateral scarring may be associated with decreased kidney function and progressive CKD. It is caused by the following mechanisms:
●Acquired scarring due to reflux-related recurrent pyelonephritis
●Abnormal kidney development resulting in congenital renal hypodysplasia (see "Renal hypodysplasia")
Kidney scarring — VUR is a risk factor for recurrent pyelonephritis and potentially subsequent kidney scarring [60-62]. The risk of scarring increases with the severity of reflux. As a result, we continue to perform VCUG in at-risk children with febrile UTIs to detect possible VUR and provide treatment plans for those diagnosed with high-grade VUR (Grades III to V). (See "Management of vesicoureteral reflux", section on 'Management'.)
Support for this approach is provided by the previously discussed RIVUR trial that demonstrated an increase in subsequent kidney scarring detected by dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renal scans from a baseline rate of 4 to 11 percent at the end of the two-year follow-up . This rate of kidney scarring is significantly lower than previously published retrospective data and may be due to the close monitoring of patients, including early diagnosis and prompt treatment of UTI, and a relatively short duration of follow-up of two years. In a subsequent publication, the risk of kidney scarring was associated with an older age at enrollment (26 versus 11 months), having a previous second UTI before enrollment, higher grade of VUR, and Hispanic ethnicity . In this cohort, renal units with grade IV VUR had a much greater risk of developing scars than units without VUR (odds ratio [OR] 24.2, 95% CI 6.4-91.2).
Further support is provided by a meta-analysis of individual patient data from nine observational studies including 1280 children (0 to 18 years) with a first UTI. In this study, the risk of kidney scarring was also increased in children with VUR compared with children without VUR (41 versus 17 percent), and increased with increasing grades of VUR . In this analysis, the presence of Grade IV or V VUR was the strongest predictor of kidney scarring, although only 4 percent of patients had this degree of reflux.
In a study comparing patients with VUR from the RIVUR trial with children who had one or two febrile or symptomatic UTIs but no VUR from the CUTIE study, the risk of kidney scars was 10.2 versus 5.6 percent in children with VUR versus no VUR . Although there was a trend towards increased risk of scarring with VUR, this difference was not statistically significant (adjusted odds ratio 2.05, 95% CI 0.86-4.87). These results should be interpreted with caution, as the number of patients with scarring in these two studies was small, and kidney scarring was not a primary end-point for these two studies.
Congenital renal hypodysplasia — Population-based studies have shown that renal hypoplasia or dysplasia resulting in reduced renal parenchymal mass may be observed in patients diagnosed prenatally with VUR [63-65]. In these studies, imaging typically demonstrated globally small kidneys with smooth kidney outlines consistent with renal hypodysplasia and not scarring [63,64]. In a large Japanese cohort of children with congenital kidney and urinary tract anomalies (CAKUT), the presence or history of VUR was not an associated risk factor with progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) even though the rate of UTI was significantly higher in those with VUR as compared with those without VUR . These data support the thesis that VUR is only a concomitant finding in patients with renal hypodysplasia and plays no causative role in the reduction of renal parenchyma. (See "Renal hypodysplasia", section on 'Progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD)'.)
However, despite the findings of the Japanese survey, we continue to be concerned that postnatal episodes of pyelonephritis may also play a role in kidney scarring in with congenital renal hypodysplasia. As a result, in our practice, we continue to treat patients with high-grade reflux (Grades III to V). (See "Management of vesicoureteral reflux", section on 'Grades III to V'.)
SOCIETY GUIDELINE LINKS — Links to society and government-sponsored guidelines from selected countries and regions around the world are provided separately. (See "Society guideline links: Vesicoureteral reflux".)
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SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
●Definition and pathogenesis – Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is the retrograde passage of urine from the bladder into the upper urinary tract. VUR is divided into two categories based on the underlying pathogenesis (see 'Definition and pathogenesis' above):
•Primary VUR, the most common form of reflux, is due to incompetent or inadequate closure of the ureterovesical junction (UVJ) that contains a segment of the ureter within the bladder wall (intravesical ureter) (figure 1).
•Secondary VUR is a result of abnormally high voiding pressure in the bladder that results in failure of the closure of the UVJ during bladder contraction.
●Epidemiology – Primary VUR occurs in approximately 1 percent of newborns. However, there is a significant rate of spontaneous resolution with growth, especially for patients with low-grade reflux (Grades I and II). (See 'Epidemiology' above and 'Natural history' above.)
●Presentation – VUR can present prenatally or postnatally (see 'Clinical presentation' above):
•VUR is diagnosed in approximately 15 to 20 percent of infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis. (See 'Prenatal presentation' above and "Postnatal evaluation and management of hydronephrosis".)
•VUR may be detected after a febrile urinary tract infection (UTI). (See 'Postnatal presentation' above and "Urinary tract infections in infants and children older than one month: Clinical features and diagnosis".)
•Less commonly, VUR may be detected through family screening of an index case. (See 'Testing family members' above.)
•Infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis – The evaluation of infants with prenatally diagnosed hydronephrosis is summarized in the figures (algorithm 1A-B) and discussed in detail separately. (See "Postnatal evaluation and management of hydronephrosis".)
•Infants and children with UTIs – Indications for performing voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) after a UTI in infants and children are reviewed separately. (See "Urinary tract infections in infants older than one month and young children: Acute management, imaging, and prognosis", section on 'Voiding cystourethrogram'.)
●Diagnosis – The diagnosis of VUR is established with contrast voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) demonstrating reflux of urine from the bladder to the upper urinary tract. Alternative imaging modalities that are less commonly used to diagnose VUR include contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography (ceVUS) or radionuclide cystogram (RNC). (See 'Diagnosis' above.)
●Severity – Established grading systems are used to categorize the severity of VUR based upon the degree of retrograde filling and dilation of the renal collecting system (figure 2). (See 'Grading' above.)
●Further evaluation – Once VUR is diagnosed, additional evaluation should be performed, including (see 'Further evaluation' above):
•Measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure.
•Assessment for symptoms of bladder or bowel dysfunction (eg, urinary frequency and urgency, daytime wetting, constipation, and encopresis).
•Laboratory tests, including urinalysis in all patients and serum creatinine if there is bilateral involvement or a solitary kidney.
•Kidney ultrasound, if not already performed.
•Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) renal scan in select patients.
•Assessment for VUR in younger siblings or offspring of the index case. (See 'Testing family members' above.)
•Children with VUR are at risk for recurrent febrile or symptomatic UTIs, especially those with more severe VUR. (See 'Recurrent urinary tract infection' above.)
•Loss of renal parenchyma is a common finding in patients with VUR. It may lead to decreased kidney function, and in some affected individuals with severe bilateral involvement to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Reduction in renal parenchyma is caused by the following mechanisms:
-Acquired scarring is caused by renal parenchymal infection, which can occur in those with any grade of reflux, but is more common in those with higher VUR grades (III to V). (See 'Kidney scarring' above.)
-Congenital renal hypodysplasia. (See 'Congenital renal hypodysplasia' above.)
ACKNOWLEDGMENT — The UpToDate editorial staff acknowledges John T Herrin, MBBS, FRACP, and Gordon McLorie, MD, FRCSC, FAAP, who contributed to an earlier version of this topic review.
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