Potential benefits of functional magnetic resonance urography (fMRU) over MAG3 renal scan in children with obstructive uropathy.

Year of Publication


Date Published

2021 Jul 10

ISSN Number



<p><strong>INTRODUCTION: </strong>Functional renal imaging, most commonly with MAG3 nuclear medicine renal scan, is recommended in the evaluation of children with urinary tract dilation (UTD) suspected of obstructive uropathy. Alternatively, renal function can be evaluated with functional Magnetic Resonance Urography (fMRU), which has superior anatomic detail. However, there are not enough data comparing both methods' equivalency. In this study, we compare the functional and obstruction parameters of fMRU and MAG3 in a pediatric cohort presenting with obstructive uropathy.</p>

<p><strong>STUDY DESIGN: </strong>This is an IRB-approved retrospective review of all children undergoing fMRU at a single, free-standing children's hospital between May 2008 and September 2017. Patients who also underwent a MAG3 renal scan within 6 months and who had no interval surgical intervention were included in the study. Bladder catheterization was performed prior to both imaging studies.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>735 children had 988 fMRU studies performed during the study period. 37 unique patients (13 girls and 24 boys) with median age of 6 months (range: 2 mo-19&nbsp;y) were included in the final sample. Median time interval between studies was 70 days (range 6-179 days). The majority of participants (26/37, 70.3%) presented with UTD P3 and had diagnosis of uretero-pelvic junction obstruction (UPJO) in 21/37. Differential renal function (DRF) was used to group 10 fMRU and 9 MAG3 patients as normal; 9 fMRU and 11 MAG3 as mild; 11 fMRU and 6 MAG3 as moderate; and 7 fMRU and 6 MAG3 as severe; Wilcoxon signed-rank test (p&nbsp;=&nbsp;0.5106). Results were similar for DRF among patients with and without duplex kidneys. In the analysis of obstruction, using reference standard T½ MAG3&nbsp;≥&nbsp;20&nbsp;min, a greater or equal than 6&nbsp;min renal transit time (RTT) from fMRU showed a specificity of 94%, a sensitivity of 62%, and an AUC of 0.827.</p>

<p><strong>DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: </strong>The differential renal function determined by MAG3 and fMRU in children was not statistically different, therefore we concluded that it was similar and potentially equivalent. Better correlation was shown in patients who had normal split kidney function. While the tests are clinically equivalent, the variability of DRF within each clinical category (i.e., normal, mild, moderate, severe) is not surprising, because MAG3 does not clearly differentiate the dilated collecting system from the functional parenchymal tissue, while fMRU does. Using MAG3 as the gold standard, fMRU was 94.74% specific and 5% more sensitive in detecting UPJO with a RTT of 6min vs. 8min.</p>



Alternate Title

J Pediatr Urol




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