Kidney obstruction is a congenital defect in children. According to reports 1 in every 1500 children worldwide are born with this defect. Kidney Obstruction is technically known as Ureteropelvic juncture (UPJ) obstruction or UPJO occurs when the normal flow of the urine is the child’s kidney slows down or is stopped due to a blockage or damage in the kidney. This defect can be detected in children before birth during the antenatal screening sessions of the pregnant mother with the help of an ultrasound. This blockage is usually found in the renal pelvis- ureter tube that carries the urine from the kidney to the bladder. If this defect is not treated on time, the child can suffer from episodes of abdominal pain. Surgery is the best treatment for Kidney Obstruction or Ureteropelvic juncture (UPJ) obstruction (UPJO).
Know about Kidney Obstruction in children and how can it be diagnosed?
Kidney obstruction or technically Hydronephrosis due to UPJO is a very common problem in babies and children. Unfortunately, in early stages it is often missed. This is a surgical disease which is eminently curable. If untreated in time, this may lead to permanent kidney damage or even kidney failure.
In the previous era, children with this disease are diagnosed very late by virtue of a large swelling in the tummy, when a child complains of severe pain in the belly or gets urine infections.
Now a days, ultrasonography has made the diagnosis very easy and early, before the symptoms develop clinically. Diagnosis can be made even before the baby is born, in the womb itself. For that matter, now a days, in 2% of the pregnancies unborn babies are diagnosed to be having hydronephrosis. Depending on the size of the kidney pelvis (less than 10 mm, 10-20 mm, or more than 20 mm), counselling of the parents can be done on the possibility of baby requiring surgery after birth. We may have to investigate the baby immediately after birth and act appropriately.
We have now very sensitive investigations available to diagnose this condition. Nuclear Medicine kidney scans, IVP, where necessary cystourethrograms help to differentiate this condition from other related problems. Measurement of blood urea and creatinine levels would be needed.
How is kidney obstruction or Ureteropelvic juncture (UPJ) obstruction (UPJO) treated in children?
Once we have diagnosed kidney obstruction, time should not be lost and the child should be operated as early as possible to avoid further permanent damage to the kidney. Now the technology, understanding on the subject are quite optimal. Prognosis for subsequent life is excellent with this disease, if adequate surgery is done and the obstruction is relieved fully by eliminating the obstructed passage and creating normal passage to flow of urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder.
If your child is suffering from kidney obstruction, consult a pediatric surgeon at the earliest.