Lower urinary tract obstruction: fetal intervention based on prenatal staging

Rodrigo Ruano, Timothy Dunn, Michael C. Braun, Joseph R. Angelo, Adnan Safdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The authors present an overview of lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO) in the fetus with a particular focus on the insult to the developing renal system. Diagnostic criteria along with the challenges in estimating long-term prognosis are reviewed. A proposed prenatal LUTO disease severity classification to guide management decisions with fetal intervention to maintain or salvage in utero and neonatal pulmonary and renal function is also discussed. Stage I LUTO (mild form) is characterized by normal amniotic fluid index after 18 weeks, normal kidney echogenicity, no renal cortical cysts, no evidence of renal dysplasia, and favorable urinary biochemistries when sampled between 18 and 30 weeks; prenatal surveillance is recommended. Stage II LUTO is characterized by oligohydramnios/anhydramnios, hyperechogenic kidneys but absent renal cortical cysts or apparent signs of renal dysplasia and favorable fetal urinary biochemistry; fetal vesicoamniotic shunting (VAS) or fetal cystoscopy is indicated to prevent pulmonary hypoplasia and renal failure. Stage III LUTO is oligohydramnios/anhydramnios, hyperechogenic kidneys with cortical cysts and renal dysplasia and unfavorable fetal urinary biochemistry after serial evaluation; fetal vesicoamniotic shunt may prevent severe pulmonary hypoplasia but not renal failure. Stage IV is characterized by intrauterine fetal renal failure, defined by anhydramnios and ultrasound (US) findings suggestive of severe renal dysplasia, and is associated with death in 24 h of life or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) within the first week of life; fetal vesicoamniotic shunt and fetal cystoscopy are not indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1871-1878
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Fetal cystoscopy
  • Fetal intervention
  • Fetus
  • Lower urinary tract obstruction
  • LUTO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Nephrology


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