Vesicoureteral reflux is an anatomic abnormality, mostly affecting a pediatric population, which may be the second leading cause of end-stage renal failure. Most cases of reflux are due to abnormalities in the insertion of the ureters into the bladder, either congenital or acquired. Most commonly, VUR is discovered during routine evaluation of urinary tract infections, but may also be present in patients with severe hypertension or chronic renal failure. The diagnosis is confirmed radiologically, utilizing either voiding cinecystography or radioisotopic methods. VUR can result in renal failure through scarring secondary to 'chronic pyelonephritis' or through a glomerulopathy, possibly immune in origin. In most series, the glomerulopathy is felt to be the cause of the end-stage renal failure. Treatment of VUR includes conservative (medical) management with the hope that maturation of the ureterovesical junction will cure reflux. Surgical therapy is reserved for those patients in whom this maturation is not expected to occur or in those whose urinary infections cannot be controlled. In those patients who have developed the glomerulopathy secondary to VUR, surgery may not halt the progression of the renal disease. VUR in a transplanted kidney may result in a higher risk of loss of the graft due to glomerulopathy or chronic rejection.
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