Renal elasticity quantification by acoustic radiation force impulse in children born preterm: preliminary results

Marco Zaffanello, Alessandra Bucci, Milena Brugnara, Emilio Del Zotti, Costanza Bruno


An emerging hypothesis from the recent literature describes how specific adverse factors related to growth retardation and low birth weight might influence renal development during fetal life and the insurgence of relevant pathologies in adulthood.
Preterm births and related perinatal events can affect the mechanical proprieties of kidneys in childhood.
We retrieved the laboratory medical records of 3 children born preterm, all in good condition, and investigated the elastic properties of their kidneys using the acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) technique. Shear wave velocity (SWV) obtained by the ARFI technique depends on the elasticity of a parenchymatous tissue.
Medical records of case patient 1 showed a shorter right kidney (5th percentile), a greater protein/creatinine ratio and higher α1-microglobulin in the urine spot if compared with controls. Patients 2 and 3 had unremarkable laboratory results. Moreover, compared with the same results of healthy full-term normal children obtained from a previous study of ours, we observed higher SWV values (m/s) for the left kidney in patients 1 and 3; patient 2 had lower SWV values in both kidneys.
The altered SWV values, measured in these children born preterm, may be correlated with a possible underlying renal pathology (for instance, disruption of the renal histology). Altered SWV values are generally observed also in 2 out of 3 children with a history of normal laboratory markers of renal function. Further studies are needed on larger cohorts of patients.


acoustic radiation force impulse; chronic kidney disease; prematurity; shear wave velocity

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