Copyright ©The Author(s) 2019. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Nephrol. Jun 28, 2019; 8(3): 44-58
Published online Jun 28, 2019. doi: 10.5527/wjn.v8.i3.44
Point of care renal ultrasonography for the busy nephrologist: A pictorial review
Abhilash Koratala, Deepti Bhattacharya, Amir Kazory
Abhilash Koratala, Deepti Bhattacharya, Amir Kazory, Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Renal Transplantation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0224, United States
Author contributions: Koratala A performed majority of the writing, prepared the images; Bhattacharya D performed literature review and assisted in writing; Kazory A reviewed and revised the manuscript for critical intellectual content.
Conflict-of-interest statement: No potential conflicts of interest. No financial support.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Abhilash Koratala, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Renal Transplantation, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100224, Gainesville, FL 32610-0224, United States.
Telephone: +1-352-27353 Fax: +1-352-3923581
Received: January 10, 2019
Peer-review started: January 10, 2019
First decision: January 26, 2019
Revised: February 22, 2019
Accepted: March 12, 2019
Article in press: March 12, 2019
Published online: June 28, 2019

The application of bedside ultrasonography in routine clinical practice has dramatically evolved over the last few decades and will likely continue to grow as technological advances lead to enhanced portability and affordability of the equipment. Despite mounting interest, most nephrology fellowship training programs do not offer formal training in renal ultrasonography and there is inertia among practicing nephrologists to adopt this skill as a practice-changing advancement. Lack of familiarity with the topic is considered a key reason for this inertia. Understanding of basic ultrasound physics, instrumentation, principles of optimal image acquisition and interpretation is critical for enhanced efficiency and patient safety while using this tool. Herein, we provide a brief overview of the basic principles of diagnostic renal ultrasonography as well as introduction to common sonographic pathologies encountered in day-to-day nephrology practice with illustrative images.

Keywords: Ultrasound, Kidney, Cyst, Hydronephrosis, Stone, Point of care

Core tip: Point-of-care renal ultrasonography has emerged as a valuable bedside diagnostic tool for non-radiology physicians. It reduces fragmentation of care and quickly provides answers to simple clinical questions thereby enhancing patient care and satisfaction. In addition, using bedside ultrasound as the first line investigation may eliminate unnecessary radiation and contrast exposure. This pictorial review includes a simplified version of the basics of ultrasound instrumentation and image interpretation.