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Renal hypoplasia 

Renal hypoplasia
Renal hypoplasia

Michiel F. Schreuder


May 24, 2018: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 24 January 2022

In true renal hypoplasia, normal nephrons are formed but with a deficit in total numbers. As nephron number estimation is not possible in vivo, renal size is used as a marker. A widely used definition of renal hypoplasia is kidneys with a normal appearance on ultrasound but with a size less than two standard deviations below the mean for gender, age, and body size. A distinct and severe form of renal hypoplasia is called (congenital) oligomeganephronia, which is characterized by small but normal-shaped kidneys with a marked reduction in nephron numbers (to as low as 10–20% of normal), a distinct enlargement of glomeruli, and a reduced renal function. In many cases, the small kidney also shows signs of dysplasia on ultrasound, leading to the diagnosis of renal hypodysplasia. Based on the hyperfiltration hypothesis and clinical studies, glomerular hyperfiltration can be expected, resulting in hypertension, albuminuria, and renal injury, for which long-term follow-up of all patients with renal hypoplasia is desirable.

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