Our Research

Non-Invasive Nonradiating Diagnosis of Pediatric Hydronephrosis

Patient Care Need: A Noninvasive Diagnostic Tool for Hydronephrosis

The most common kidney abnormality for children is hydronephrosis. Hydronephrosis is a swelling of the kidney caused by a blockage of urine drainage. If left untreated, hydronephrosis associated with obstruction can cause permanent kidney damage and in severe cases it requires surgery.

doctor looking at imaging
To detect hydronephrosis, physicians use ultrasound images, which are safe for children and cost effective, but they can be difficult to interpret and often lead to variable diagnoses. For these reasons, when hydronephrosis is found with ultrasound imaging, a child is often required to undertake a variable number of diuretic renograms until a final decision of surgical need is made, which is invasive and involves radiation.


Our Solutions

We have created two different solutions to improve the management of children with hydronephrosis. First, we have developed a technology that uses artificial intelligence to provide a higher diagnostic accuracy from diuretic renograms, thus reducing the number of studies and amount of radiation needed to assess the need for surgical correction. Second, we have created a low-cost software tool called KidCAD designed to evaluate the severity of hydronephrosis using only noninvasive, nonradiating ultrasound imaging. This solution incorporates advanced quantitative imaging and machine learning methods to provide the first system able to assess kidney function from regular ultrasound images. The proposed system allows establishing a link between noninvasive, non-ionizing imaging techniques and renal function, limiting the need for further invasive and ionizing diuretic renogram studies.

The Impact of Our Technology

The net effect of our technology will be a decrease in radiation exposure and potential morbidity for children with hydronephrosis. An additional benefit will be the reduction of clinical costs associated with complex and invasive nuclear imaging tests.

Our Partners

Our Funding 

  • Philips Ultrasound, Inc.
  • Joseph E. Roberts, Jr., Endowment Award