Scientific publications

Hyponatremia and other potential markers of ultrasound abnormalities after a first febrile urinary tract infection in children

Nov 1, 2023 | Magazine: European Journal of Pediatrics

Isabel González-Bertolín  1 , Guillermo Barbas Bernardos  2 , Leire García Suarez  3   4 , Rosario López López  1 , Paula García Sánchez  1 , Patricia Bote Gascón  1 , Cristina Calvo  5


Urinary tract infections are the initial manifestation in 30% of urinary tract malformations. Identifying these patients, who could benefit from a specific treatment, is still challenging. Hyponatremia during urinary tract infection has been proposed as a urinary tract malformation marker. We evaluate the prevalence of hyponatremia during febrile urinary tract infections and its association with subjacent urinary tract malformations. We performed a retrospective study of healthy patients under 16 years, diagnosed with a first episode of febrile urinary tract infection, who had undergone blood testing in the acute episode and at least one renal ultrasound during follow-up (January 2014-November 2020). Hyponatremia was defined as (serum sodium ≤ 130 mEq/L). According to imaging findings, we classified patients into three groups: normal kidney ultrasound, mild pelviectasis, and significant urinary tract malformation. We performed logistic regression models to identify independent risk factors for urinary tract malformation and mild pelviectasis. We included 492 patients and 2.8% presented hyponatremia. We identified normal ultrasound in 77%, mild pelviectasis in 10.8%, and urinary tract malformation in 12% of patients. We found an association between mild pelviectasis and hyponatremia [OR 6.6 (CI95% 1.6-26.6)]. However, we found no association between hyponatremia and urinary tract malformation. The parameters that were associated with malformations were presenting a non-E. coli infection, C-reactive-protein levels over 80 mg/L, and bacteremia.

Conclusion: Hyponatremia during the first episode of febrile urinary tract infection is present in 2.8% of patients and is associated with mild pelviectasis in imaging. However, hyponatremia does not indicate a greater need for complementary tests to screen for urinary tract malformations.

What is known: • Urinary tract infection is the first manifestation in 30% of children with urinary tract malformation. • Hyponatremia could be a marker to identify these children and guide the imaging approach.

What is new: • Around 12% of children with a first episode of febrile urinary tract infection have a urinary tract malformation. • Non-E. coli infection, C-reactive protein levels over 80 mg/L, and bacteremia are markers for malformations to guide diagnostic imaging tests, but hyponatremia (Na ≤ 130 mEq/l) is not a reliable marker.

CITATION  Eur J Pediatr. 2023 Nov;182(11):4867-4874.  doi: 10.1007/s00431-023-05149-z. Epub 2023 Aug 17.