Epidemiological and imaging features that can affect the detection of ureterolithiasis on ultrasound

Abstract Objective: To identify, in patients with clinical suspicion of ureterolithiasis, epidemiological and imaging features that affect calculus detection on ultrasound, as well as to compare ultrasound with multidetector computed tomography (MDCT). Materials and Methods: We searched our database for patients who underwent ultrasound, followed by MDCT (if the ultrasound was negative), for suspected ureterolithiasis in an emergency setting. Patients were divided into three groups: positive ultrasound (US+); negative ultrasound/positive MDCT (US−/MDCT+); and negative ultrasound/negative MDCT (US−/MDCT−). We evaluated age, gender, ureterolithiasis laterality, location of the calculus within the ureter, body mass index, calculus diameter, and calculus attenuation on MDCT. Results: Of a total of 292 cases of suspected ureterolithiasis, 155 (53.1%) were in the US+ group, 46 (15.7%) were in the US−/MDCT+ group, and 91 (31.2%) were in the US−/MDCT− group. There were no significant differences among the groups in terms of age, gender, ureterolithiasis laterality, and mean MDCT attenuation values. Distal ureterolithiasis was most common in the US+ group, and calculi at other ureteral locations were more common in the US−/MDCT+ group. The mean body mass index was significantly higher in the US−/MDCT+ group than in the US+ group, and the mean calculus diameter was significantly greater in the US+ group than in the US−/MDCT+ group. Conclusion: A high body mass index, large calculus diameter, and calculus location in the distal third of the ureter are the major factors favoring ureterolithiasis detection on ultrasound.