Kidney disease: detection
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, the information on these pages is gathered from my own experience, books, websites, and other people's experience. I will not be held responsible for any injury resulting from this information. If you have a medical condition, you should seek qualified medical advice and supervision at all times.
How is it detected?
Usually to have a good look at the kidneys, external and internal ultrasound will be used if possible. This is the worst detection method as it relies on a good quality picture and an accurate reading.
An iodine dye is injected into the blood stream, and a belt is put around your pelvis. Many xray images are taken as the dye collects in the kidneys, and on release of the belt, images of the dye running down the ureters into the bladder, collection in the bladder, and after urinating to see if there is any left post micturation.
This gives an indication whether a kidney is not functioning, whether it is slow to release the dye, whether there is any reflux, and whether there is any other leakages or bladder problems.
An iodine dye is injected through the outer ureter into the bladder until it contains as much as possible.
This gives an indication of whether the valves between the ureters and bladder are working. It is a very uncomfortable procedure and often does not indicate anything useful. This procedure is most often prescribed to detect reflux in children.
Kidneys help filter toxins from the blood, and if they are working badly then blood tests may indicate this.
There are two urine tests commonly used to monitor kidney function - the 24 hours test involves the patient collecting all the urine passed in a 24 hour period. The other test is just a simple spot urine test in a jar.
To detect cystitis, a mid-stream urine test is required, where urination is started, then collection commences (without pausing) and does not include the end urine.
Xrays may show kidney stones, but are unlikely to show other defects or functional problems with the kidneys.
A good indication of what the kidneys look like without surgery is by using nuclear imaging. A mildly radioactive dye is injected into the blood stream. Three hours later when it has collected in the kidneys, images are taken. Single images are taken from each side, behind and in front, then the imaging machine does a full circle, taking 'slice' pictures which are fed into a program which creates a 3D image of the kidneys.