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Hydroureter refers to abnormal dilation (>3 mm) of the ureter and may occur in combination with hydronephrosis.
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The term, megaureter, is usually reserved for ureters >7 mm in diameter. The term hydroureteronephrosis (or hydronephroureterosis) may be used when ureteric dilatation occurs in the presence of hydronephrosis.
Clinical presentation is variable but may include:
- flank pain
- nausea, vomiting
Hydroureter is a non-specific finding. Etiologies include:
- sloughed papillae from renal papillary necrosis (often associated with analgesic abuse)
- crossing vessels
- mass effect
- residual dilation from a prior obstruction that has recently resolved (e.g. passed urolithiasis)
- urinary tract infection 2
- chronic reflux from a uroenteric diversion
A ureteral diameter of >3 mm has been described as the cut-off for hydroureter 1,3.
History and etymology
From the Latin "hydro", meaning of water.
- 1. Potenta SE, D'Agostino R, Sternberg KM, Tatsumi K, Perusse K. CT Urography for Evaluation of the Ureter. (2015) Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 35 (3): 709-26. doi:10.1148/rg.2015140209 - Pubmed
- 2. Shopfner CE. Nonobstructive Hydronephrosis and Hydroureter. (1966) American Journal of Roentgenology (98): 172-180 doi:10.2214/ajr.98.1.172
- 3. Zelenko N, Coll D, Rosenfeld AT, Smith RC. Normal ureter size on unenhanced helical CT. (2004) AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 182 (4): 1039-41. doi:10.2214/ajr.182.4.1821039 - Pubmed