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Calyceal crescent sign (intravenous pyelogram)

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 25 Apr 2019

The calyceal crescent sign (Dunbar crescents) refers to the early intravenous pyelogram (IVP) appearance of markedly dilated renal calyces. It is formed by early contrast opacification of the dilated collecting ducts and ducts of Bellini with the characteristic shape as a result of the associated enlarged calyces. 

This appearance can be appreciated on IVP and CT contrast excretory phase and becomes isoattenuating to the parenchyma as the kidney opacifies.

It is a marker of elevated pressure within the renal pelvis and is an important indicator as to whether the renal function is recoverable.

History and etymology

First described by Canadian pediatric radiologist JS Dunbar (with MB Nogrady) in 1970 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: photograph - crescent
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