MRI can assess kidney scarring and determine future kidney function

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The research team from the St. Michael’s Hospital has discovered 2 first-of-its-kind findings—an MRI can assess kidney damage and can envisage the kidney function within 1 year while circumventing needle biopsies. A particular MRI test, known as elastogram, was used by the team to evaluate kidney scarring in a group of 17 individuals who had kidney transplants.

Tissue stiffness is mapped by an elastogram using MRI to find out the incidence of scarring. It is a major reason of kidney transplant failure, according to the researchers. Also, the healthy kidney is malleable, whereas scar tissue is rigid. So, the team was seeking a means to assess how stiff or soft one’s kidney is without essentially going within the body. The team showed that with MRI elastogram, they were able to evaluate stiffness of kidney, which gave them a clue of how much scarring existed.”

Scarring is irremediable and can lead to progressive kidney injury, which can ultimately result in kidney failure. High BP, kidney transplant rejection, and diabetes all leads to scarring. Needle biopsy, at present, is the gold standard method to measure the scarring of the kidney. In the kidney, a long needle is introduced and a sample is taken of about the dimension of a mechanical pencil tip. The process needs pain medications and can be allied with bleeding, according to the scientists.

The research showed that the MRI outcomes were not just equivalent to the outcomes of a kidney biopsy, but also the test-enabled discovering a high variability in the location & amount of scarring throughout the complete organ. The MRI permitted the team to get a complete image of the kidney.

Also, they discovered that kidney stiffness envisaged how sound the kidney would be functioning 1-year post-MRI. They observed that those with high stiffness levels in their kidneys had a high kidney function loss, whereas those with softer kidneys didn’t. This demonstrates that an MRI can exactly envisage future kidney working, which might be principally useful for patients with kidney transplant.

According to Dr Yuen, MRIs wouldn’t substitute biopsies but instead function as an extra test to provide a more inclusive perceptive of kidney health. Dr. Yuen said, “At present, there are no anti-scarring medications in the market, partly as it is difficult to justify doing several kidney biopsies as a portion of a pharmaceutical trial. By offering a needle-free approach to assess kidney scarring, we might produce more avenues for this critical research into seeking an efficient anti-scarring treatment.”