Pyelectasis

Pyelectasis is when a prenatal ultrasound detects extra fluid in unborn babies’ kidneys. The condition often resolves itself before or shortly after birth.

    Remarkable Care for Kids

    • Prenatal care for babies with pyelectasis: The Rush Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Center offers prenatal testing and diagnosis for pyelectasis during your pregnancy. The center’s specialized team will provide you with support, evaluation and treatment during your pregnancy and after your child is born.
    • Genetic testing for Down syndrome: If your doctor thinks that pyelectasis may indicate that your baby has Down syndrome, the genetics specialists at Rush offer genetic counseling, testing, education and support.
    • Comprehensive care from a top nephrology program: The Section of Pediatric Nephrology at Rush University Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive evaluation, treatment and ongoing care for children with kidney and urinary tract disorders that can cause pyelectasis. The nephrology program at Rush is consistently named one of the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
    • Expert surgical care: Pediatric urologists at Rush specialize in the surgical treatment of pyelectasis that does not resolve itself. The urology program at Rush is consistently named one of the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

    What is pyelectasis?

    Pyelectasis does not usually have an impact on your baby's short- or long-term kidney health. If your prenatal ultrasound detects pyelectasis, you’ll need additional prenatal monitoring. Typically, the fluid in your baby’s kidneys will resolve by your third trimester of pregnancy.

    In some babies, pyelectasis can persist as hydronephrosis, a condition in which urine may drain too slowly the kidneys. If that happens, your baby might need surgery at birth.

    Causes of pyelectasis

    The most common causes of pyelectasis are:

    • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction: A blockage of urine between the kidneys and the ureter
    • Vesicoureteral reflux: An abnormal flow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys

    Pyelectasis can indicate Down syndrome on an ultrasound; however, most babies with pyelectasis do not have Down syndrome.

    Care for pyelectasis at Rush

    You and your baby may receive the following care for pyelectasis:

    • Monitoring: You’ll need additional ultrasounds and tests during your pregnancy to examine and monitor your baby’s kidneys and urinary tract.
    • Surgery: In the rare case that your baby needs surgery, a pediatric urologist may perform a pyeloplasty. This common and highly effective surgery corrects a blockage between the kidney and ureter, allowing urine to drain properly from the kidney to the bladder.