Ultrasound Measurement of Change in Kidney Volume Is a Sensitive Indicator of Severity of Renal Parenchymal Injury

Document Type


Publication Date



Ultrasound measurement of change in kidney volume is a sensitive indicator of severity of renal parenchymal injury. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 319: F447–F457, 2020. First published July 20, 2020; doi:10.1152/ajprenal.00221.2020.—Noninvasive determination of the severity of parenchymal injury in acute kidney injury remains challenging. Edema is an early pathological process following injury, which may correlate with changes in kidney volume. The goal of the present study was to test the hypothesis that “increases in kidney volume measured in vivo using ultrasound correlate with the degree of renal parenchymal injury.” Ischemia-reperfusion (IR) of varying length was used to produce graded tissue injury. We first determined 1) whether regional kidney volume in rats varied with the severity (0, 15, 30, and 45 min) of warm bilateral IR and 2) whether this correlated with tubular injury score. We then determined whether these changes could be measured in vivo using three-dimensional ultrasound. Finally, we evaluated cumulative changes in kidney volume up to 14 days post-IR in rats to determine whether changes in renal volume were predictive of latent tubular injury following recovery of filtration. Experiments concluded that noninvasive ultrasound measurements of change in kidney volume over 2 wk are predictive of tubular injury following IR even in animals in which plasma creatinine was not elevated. We conclude that ultrasound measurements of volume are a sensitive, noninvasive marker of tissue injury in rats and that the use of three-dimensional ultrasound measurements may provide useful information regarding the timing, severity, and recovery from renal tissue injury in experimental studies.