Pediatric Radiology > Genitorinary > Voiding Cystourethrogram > Introduction to Vesicoureteral Reflux

Introduction to Vesicoureteral Reflux

Vesicoureteral reflux is defined as the retrograde passage of urine from the urinary bladder into the ureter and in more severe cases into the proximal renal collecting system. It is a common pediatric genitourinary problem and has significant potential sequelae resulting from recurrent urinary tract infections and subsequent renal damage. Vesicoureteral reflux is present in 0.5 - 1% of asymptomatic children but will be present in 30 - 50% of children with urinary tract infections. Renal scarring is most common in children less than two years of age but new renal scarring is infrequent in children over the age of 5. There is a familial component with an incidence as high as 34% and therefore routine screening should be considered in all siblings. In children with vesicoureteral reflux, the etiology should be determined and appropriate prophylactic antibiotic therapy begun. Most mild cases will resolve by 5-6 years of age although more severe cases may require corrective surgery.

In conclusion, because of the significant risk of renal damage from recurrent UTI's, particularly in children less the 2 years of age, vesicoureteral reflux should be promptly diagnosed and treated effectively to avoid long term renal sequelae.


© Copyright Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia 2021