Echogenic Kidney On Ultrasound

An echogenic kidney is one which whiter than usual on ultrasound.   Echogenic kidneys are not specific for a diagnosis but can indicate kidney problems.  Echogenic kidneys are determined by comparing them to adjacent organs like the liver and spleen.   Echogenic kidneys do not always indicate kidney disease and work up and further testing may be needed.

What is an echogenic kidney?

A echogenic kidney is one which is whiter than the adjacent organs like the liver and spleen.   Usually the normal kidneys are similar in brightness to these organs.

Symptoms of echogenic kidney

Symptoms of echogenic kidney may be absent in early stages of kidney disease.  More advanced stages of kidney disease may include decreased urine production, fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle twitching and cramps, swelling of feet and hands, proteinuria (large amounts of protein in the urine) to name some.

How is echogenic kidney diagnosed?

Echogenic kidney is diagnosed using ultrasound.  Ultrasound will show the kidney to be whiter than the adjacent liver and spleen.

What does echogenic kidney look like on ultrasound?

Echogenic kidney on ultrasound will look whiter than the adjacent liver and spleen.  In some cases, the kidney may be smaller than normal and have thinning of the outer part of the kidney (called cortex).

What else can look like echogenic kidney in radiology?

Echogenic kidney on ultrasound can sometimes be related to technical factors or normal variation instead of true abnormality.  In some cases, fluid in the abdomen (ascites) can make the kidneys look whiter than usual.

What causes echogenic kidney?

Causes of echogenic kidneys on ultrasound can include: acute and chronic kidney disease, sickle cell disease, kidney disease related to HIV, renal amyloidosis, and dehydration.

Is echogenic kidney dangerous?

It can be in some cases when the cause is related to kidney disease.  More testing will be needed to be certain.

What type of doctor treats echogenic kidney?

In the case of kidney diseases, a nephrologist may be involved in your care.

How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?

Blood tests will determine your GFR or glomerular filtration rate.  This tells us how well your kidneys are filtering the blood.

Serum creatinine levels tells us how well your kidneys are removing this waste products.

Urine tests will look for protein and blood in the urine.  Normal urine contains no blood or protein.

Echogenic kidney treatment

The treatment for echogenic kidneys depends on the underlying cause.   Kidney diseases can cause damage to the kidneys and cause them to not work as well.   There is no cure for chronic kidney disease but steps can be taken to preserve kidney function.

For example, underlying diabetes and hypertension can be better controlled.  Avoid medications which can cause damage to your kidneys.  Eat a kidney friendly diet.  Do not smoke.  Maintain a healthy weight.

End stage kidney disease may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Echogenic kidney: summary

Echogenic kidneys are diagnosed on ultrasound.  The kidneys will appear brighter than the adjacent liver and spleen.  Echogenic kidneys are not specific for a diagnosis but raise concern for kidney disease.  This will require further testing to be sure.  This may include blood tests, further imaging tests and biopsy.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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