Is renal scintigraphy really a necessity in the routine diagnosis of congenital solitary kidney?

  • Jera Grabnar
  • Rina R. RusEmail author
Original Article



For a definitive diagnosis of congenital solitary kidney, renal scintigraphy is suggested as being the gold standard of ruling out ectopic functioning renal tissue, possibly missed by ultrasound. The aim of our study was to test ultrasonography precision in comparison with renal scintigraphy on a larger cohort of congenital solitary kidneys.


We performed a retrospective unicenter study of children with congenital solitary kidney with no contralateral tissue, who were treated in the period from 1980 to 2017. The findings in children who underwent both abdominopelvic ultrasound and nuclear renal scintigraphy were compared and the accuracy of ultrasound was assessed.


99 children met the inclusion criteria of congenital solitary kidney confirmed with abdominopelvic ultrasound and nuclear renal scintigraphy. The children were predominantly male (61.6%), and the congenital solitary kidney was largely right-sided (55.5%). In 97 cases (98%), ultrasound correctly predicted the absence of functional renal tissue on one side in the renal fossa or in an ectopic location (pelvis or ipsilateral side). The calculated accuracy of abdominopelvic ultrasound in diagnosing congenital solitary kidney was therefore 98%.


Our findings confirm that abdominopelvic ultrasound alone is accurate enough to diagnose congenital solitary kidney. It gives enough information for consideration if further radiological evaluation is still needed.


Children Congenital kidney abnormality Scintigraphy Solitary kidney Ultrasonography 


Author contributions

Both authors have made substantive contributions to the article and assume full responsibility for its content; all those who have made substantive contributions to the article have been named as authors.


No financial or nonfinancial benefits have been received or will be received from any party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

A retrospective study was conducted at the University Children’s Hospital in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and was approved by the Slovene National Medical Ethics Committee. A study is in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Children’s HospitalUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric Nephrology, University Children’s HospitalUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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