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MRI for diagnosis of post-renal transplant complications: current state-of-the-art and future perspectives


Kidney transplantation has developed into a widespread procedure to treat end stage renal failure, with transplantation results improving over the years. Postoperative complications have decreased over the past decades, but are still an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Early accurate diagnosis and treatment is the key to prevent renal allograft impairment or even graft loss. Ideally, a diagnostic tool should be able to detect post-transplant renal dysfunction, differentiate between the different causes and monitor renal function during and after therapeutic interventions. Non-invasive imaging modalities for diagnostic purposes show promising results. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have a number of advantages, such as the lack of ionizing radiation and the possibility to obtain relevant tissue information without contrast, reducing the risk of contrast-induced nephrotoxicity. However, most techniques still lack the specificity to distinguish different types of parenchymal diseases. Despite some promising outcomes, MRI is still barely used in the post-transplantation diagnostic process. The aim of this review is to survey the current literature on the relevance and clinical applicability of diagnostic MRI modalities for the detection of various types of complications after kidney transplantation.

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R. Schutter: drafting the manuscript. V.A. Lantinga: drafting the manuscript. R.J.H. Borra: critical revision. C. Moers: critical revision.

Correspondence to Rianne Schutter.

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Schutter, R., Lantinga, V.A., Borra, R.J.H. et al. MRI for diagnosis of post-renal transplant complications: current state-of-the-art and future perspectives. Magn Reson Mater Phy 33, 49–61 (2020).

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  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Complications
  • Renal allograft