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Reflux nephropathy
Classification and external resources
ICD-9 593.73
DiseasesDB 11209
MedlinePlus 000459
eMedicine radio/597

Reflux nephropathy, RN is a term applied when small and scarred kidneys (chronic pyelonephritis, CPN) are associated with vesico-ureteric reflux (VUR). CPN being the commonest cause, there are other causes including analgesic nephropathy and obstructive injury. Scarring is essential in developing RN and occurs almost during the first five years of life. The end results of RN are hypertension, proteinuria, CRF and eventually ESRD, end stage renal disease.

The term was introduced in 1973.[1][2]



It is diagnosed by micturating cystography, scarring can of course be demonstrated by ultrasound or DMSA.


There is a genetic predisposition, first-degree relatives have a great increase in the chance of VUR.

The gene frequency is estimated to be 1:600. All children with UTI should be investigated for VUR.


The aim of treatment is to reduce renal scarring. Those children with grade II or worse should receive low dose prophylactic antibiotics (Nitrofurantoin, trimethoprim, cotrimoxazole, cefalexin in those with CRF). Hypertension should be managed with ACE inhibitor or ARBs. Other treatment modalities include surgery (endoscopic injection of collagen behind the intra-vesical ureter, ureteric re-implantation or lengthening of the submucosal ureteric tunnel) which has its protagonists.


  1. ^ Dillon MJ, Goonasekera CD (December 1998). "Reflux nephropathy". J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 9 (12): 2377–83. PMID 9848795.  
  2. ^ Bailey RR (1973). "The relationship of vesico-ureteric reflux to urinary tract infection and chronic pyelonephritis-reflux nephropathy". Clin. Nephrol. 1 (3): 132–41. PMID 4783715.  


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