Nephrogenic phase

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

The nephrogenic phase, also known as the nephrographic phase or the renal parenchymal phase, is a postcontrast injection time range in which there is an optimal enhancement of the renal parenchyma including the medulla.

The acquisition time depends on the intravenous device (central or peripheral), the concentration of the contrast medium, and the injection rate.

  • time from injection through an upper extremity vein: 85-120 seconds with a mean of:
    • 100 seconds at an injection rate of 2 ml/s 1,2 
    • 88 seconds at a rate of 3 ml/s 2
  • time from bolus tracking: 80 seconds

During this phase, the contrast agent filters through the glomeruli and enters the loop of Henle and the collecting ducts 3.

Nephrogenic phase imaging allows the detection of renal lesions and is required for both renal CT and MRI.

The nephrogenic phase may be delayed in patients with abnormal renal or cardiac function. Read more on the delayed nephrogenic phase.

This phase may occur earlier when the injection is performed at rapid rates 2.

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