Doppler ultrasound finds increase in renal blood flow in children with diabetes

April 7, 2008

Doppler ultrasound shows that diabetic nephropathy may affect the kidneys of pediatric diabetes patients long before clinical indications become evident. Diabetes-related microvascular complications rarely reach clinical stages in childhood, but researchers investigated whether Doppler ultrasound could identify differences in the renal blood flow of children with diabetes compared with normal controls.

Doppler ultrasound shows that diabetic nephropathy may affect the kidneys of pediatric diabetes patients long before clinical indications become evident. Diabetes-related microvascular complications rarely reach clinical stages in childhood, but researchers investigated whether Doppler ultrasound could identify differences in the renal blood flow of children with diabetes compared with normal controls.

Dr. Piernicola Pelliccia and colleagues at the University of Chieti, General Hospital in Chieti, Italy, published their study in the Journal of Clinical Ultrasound, which made it available online March 24. They studied 42 children between the ages of six and 18, all with diabetes, and compared the results with those of 41 age-matched healthy children.

The researchers measured the Doppler resistance index in the interlobular renal arteries of all 83 study participants and found those with diabetes had significantly higher values than their age-matched controls, with 0.64 to 0.03 versus 0.60 to 0.04 (p<0.035).

The renal Doppler resistance index also correlated positively with how long each patient had diabetes, with an r value of 0.39 (p<0.05). HbA1c test results correlated positively as well, with an r value of 0.42 (p<0.001).

The researchers concluded that Doppler sonography can be used to detect early changes in the hemodynamics of pediatric diabetes patients before any clinical indications of kidney problems are evident. They suspect that ultrasound is allowing them to see a preclinical stage of diabetic nephropathy.