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Renal tubular acidosis
Minimal change disease
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (NORD)
Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis
IgA nephropathy (NORD)
Acute tubular necrosis
Renal papillary necrosis
Renal cortical necrosis
Chronic kidney disease
Polycystic kidney disease
Multicystic dysplastic kidney
Medullary cystic kidney disease
Medullary sponge kidney
Renal artery stenosis
Renal cell carcinoma
Nephroblastoma (Wilms tumor)
Posterior urethral valves
Hypospadias and epispadias
Lower urinary tract infection
Transitional cell carcinoma
Non-urothelial bladder cancers
Congenital renal disorders: Pathology review
Renal tubular defects: Pathology review
Renal tubular acidosis: Pathology review
Acid-base disturbances: Pathology review
Electrolyte disturbances: Pathology review
Renal failure: Pathology review
Nephrotic syndromes: Pathology review
Nephritic syndromes: Pathology review
Urinary incontinence: Pathology review
Urinary tract infections: Pathology review
Kidney stones: Pathology review
Renal and urinary tract masses: Pathology review
0 / 8 complete
0 / 4 complete
hydronephrosis and p. 623
hydronephrosis in p. 623
hydronephrosis with p. 624
BPH p. 678
horseshoe kidney p. 603
kidney stones p. 628
posterior urethral valves p. 603
hydronephrosis p. 623
hydronephrosis p. 624
hydronephrosis p. 624
Tanner Marshall, MS
With hydronephrosis, -hydro means water, -nephro means kidneys, and -osis refers to a disease state, so hydronephrosis refers a disease or condition where excessive amounts of water, in the form of urine, causes the kidneys to dilate.
Now, normally, inside the kidneys, urine forms in the nephron and then drains through the papilla which is an inverted cone shaped pyramid, that, like a shower head, pours urine into the calyces, which comes from the latin -calix which means large cup, like a Roman chalice.
From there it enters the renal pelvis which funnels the urine into the ureter.
If there’s an obstruction to this normal flow of urine, then it can cause urinary pressures to increase and push out on the walls of these structures making them dilate. This might happen because of something within the urinary tract,for example, a kidney stone, or from external compression, for example, when a fetus pushes up against the urinary tract during pregnancy.
Typically the dilation starts closest to the site of the problem and then slowly continues back up towards the kidneys.
Now, if there’s dilation of just the ureter, it’s called hydroureter, but if there’s dilation of the ureter, renal pelvis, and the calyces, it’s called hydroureteronephrosis or more commonly just hydronephrosis.
The causes of hydronephrosis differ by age group.
Hydronephrosis in the fetus is called antenatal hydronephrosis, and sometimes the cause here is unknown, and it develops and disappears on its own, so it may be a variation of normal development. But if hydronephrosis progresses through fetal development into the third trimester, then there may be an actual underlying pathology. For example, there’s congenital ureteropelvic junction obstruction, which is where the ureteropelvic junction—which connects the ureter to the kidney—fails to canalize during development, which can obstruct the flow of urine.
Another cause is vesicoureteral reflux which is where urine is allowed to backflow from the bladder into the ureters and eventually kidneys.
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